Why do you want to move the Library? Why are you moving the Library?
No one wants to move the library for the sake of moving. The community needs a new library building.
The current site is too small to create a sustainable and effective library. Moving gives the community much better options for a long term solution.
Staying here (renovating/expanding or demolishing/rebuilding) is the most expensive option and it causes the most upheaval because we have to move out for a year or more.
Do you really NEED a new building?
Yes, the community really does need a new library building! The Task Force's investigation showed missing resources and numerous deficiencies.
There isn’t enough room for the collections we have and it’s not possible to adapt the space we have for innovations to come. The collections we have are on shelves that are too high and too low for many people.
- In the Children’s area, for every item we add, we have to remove one to make room.
- There are almost no quiet spaces.
- There aren’t any study rooms, which we are asked for on a daily basis.
- The building can’t handle the increasing electrical demands or support updated data lines for Internet and technology infrastructure, and will not be able to meet future needs.
The role of libraries is changing from being a place where people solely consume content to being a place where people can create content. The current building doesn’t allow for any of that, but the new building would.
How many Winter Park residents actually use the library?
There are over 15,000 named users at the WPPL. When reporting to the state, the library counts the number of cardholders, which is different than the number of named users. Our real user number includes cardholders and the additional family members whose names are added to each card but do not get cards of their own. Many married couples share one card and many families consolidate their library checkouts to a single card, leaving children and spouses uncounted. Due to software limitations, the library must hand-review additional named cardholders, which was done for this process. The library is unable to count residents who use library resources or services but don’t check out materials. In addition to named users, we know that over 21,000 people attended classes or events at the library last year. Going by cardholder numbers alone would be inaccurate and incomplete.
Now that more and more materials are moving onto digital formats, why are we building a bigger library?
First, it’s crucial to say that libraries are not (and never have been) in the book business. They are in the INFORMATION business. As citizens of The Information Age, libraries fill a critical, unique role as trusted community hubs and sources of knowledge and information. Not only does Winter Park need a library to house books and resources, it needs the library to be a place where the community, especially our young people and business professionals, can meet, collaborate and create. The current library building is woefully short on quiet spaces, creative spaces, room for children’s materials and programming, and meeting spaces. Additionally, it’s crucial to know that despite the growing availability of digital books and other information, books are not going away anytime soon. Recent studies show that 60 to 70 percent of people aged 16 – 24 strongly prefer print books. That tells us that libraries will need to accommodate print for at least another half century. A key characteristic of the new library won’t just be more space, it will be flexible space – meaning that as the community’s needs change and technologies emerge, the building is capable of transforming without structural modifications. This is a building meant to last for generations and building too small based on a misperception would be a short-sighted choice and a lost opportunity with long-term consequences.
What will happen to the current building once the library moves into the new facility?
The City of Winter Park owns the current building and property and it will decide what to do. Several options for this building have been mentioned including making it a park, relocating City departments, leasing it or finding another City use for it. The City has repeatedly said that IF it decided to sell (which it has not decided to do) it would go out for bid where a variety of potential buyers would have the opportunity to purchase it.
Are you moving the Library so Rollins can have the property? Was Rollins involved in the decision to move the library?
No. Not even a little bit. At no time during the 18 month process did Rollins or its representatives attempt to influence the process or encourage the Library to leave the current site.
Is it a done deal? I don't want the Library to move.
At this point, the City Commission has decided that the best location for a new library will be the site of the current civic center. The evidence given by the Task Force supported the decision. The City’s architect consultants have developed a plan to put the new library, a new events center and one-story parking structure on the current civic center site. Residents will have the opportunity to approve a bond referendum in March 2016 that will provide the funding for the new projects. Even if the referendum passes, there is still plenty of room for residents to have input on the style, design and nature of the new facilities.
Exactly what are you planning to do or offer in a new building that you absolutely can’t in the current facility?
- The new building will be built with the 21st century in mind. That means we won’t just build a library that can do what we need it to today. It will be built to accommodate the needs of today and be flexible enough for whatever comes along in the decades ahead. The old building is capable of neither.
- Dedicated computer labs and technology training facilities will allow residents to prepare or retrain for the 21st century economy by building digital skills.
- A new facility will finally have enough space to support Early Literacy efforts through excellent collections of children’s books, music and videos on accessible shelving in inviting, age-appropriate spaces.
- Unlike the current facility, a new building will be engineered to balance noisy activity with quiet spaces for reading or productivity.
- It will provide spaces where small groups can meet to study, conduct business meetings, or collaborate on projects.
- We will be able to provide a Business and Entrepreneur Center equipped with resources and trained personnel to help local businesses and aspiring businesspeople develop new products or services and find markets in which to sell them.
- A fully realized makerspace will provide equipment, software and tools that allow creatives to bring creations to life whether it’s an app, video, craft or publication.
- Our local history can be properly preserved and put on display with facilities designed to maintain correct humidity and light controls for the precious documents in our Winter History & Archives Collection. We will finally be able to help residents preserve their own family histories and contribute to the larger community archive by providing equipment and expertise to assist in the digitization of photos and the recording of oral histories.
- We can become a library of things, a community hub that allows people to check out more than books or other media. Using successful models from around the country, we can check out musical instruments, fishing poles, sewing machines, tools, or whatever the community needs, expanding on the idea of the emerging “sharing economy.”
- Users will have a vastly improved and safer experience through ADA accessible features, elevators capable of safely transporting patients during an emergency, and open spaces.
From the very start, a core value the community expressed in their desire for a new building was flexibility… the ability to transform as the community’s needs grow and change. We know the above is what we can be in a new facility, but even more powerful is the fact that a new building could evolve as the current facility is incapable of doing.