Birmingham’s Baldwin Public Library is looking for public input on Phase II of its expansion and renovation project, this time to discuss how to upgrade the Youth Services wing of the building, hosting a community forum on Monday, November 13 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The library completed a $2.2 million renovation of the Adult Services area in June of 2017 that was begun in October 2016. The renovation was the first phase of three planned renovations of Baldwin Library and its board of trustees anticipates to update and modernize the library for the 21st century, for a total cost of approximately $6 million, financed through an annual increased millage rate of approximately 1.41 mills to Birmingham residents. The library is a wholly-owned entity of the city of Birmingham.
The library renovation opened up the architecturally classic 1927 building and provides successful integration with the 1981 addition by architect Gunnar Birkerts, offering collaborative work spaces, study areas and reading spots in a light and airy space. Architects Robert Ziegelman and John Gardner of Luckenbach Ziegelman Gardner Architects in Birmingham recognized the beauty of the 1927 building, and wanted to restore the exterior, which had long been encased by drywall and encircled by the 1981 addition. The result is a stunning juxtaposition of classic and modern, with light from an opened up wall of windows in the Adult Services area. Instead of narrow book stacks, shelves are set perpendicular, fanning out in bleached maple, with bleached maple furnishings and bright color cushions and accents in carpeting, designed by Karen Swanson.
Now, sights are being set on the how to best enhance Baldwin’s ability to serve the children in the community by providing developmentally-appropriate learning spaces for children from birth to grade six; increase the value the library delivers to residents, businesses and visitors; and strengthen Birmingham’s civic center by providing an exterior that complements the existing building, Shain Park, and the city campus.
The community forum will take place at the library in the Jeanne Lloyd Room on the second floor. Parents, caregivers, children, and all community members are invited to attend. Library director Doug Koschik and architect Bob Ziegelman will lead the discussion.