Girl Scout Troop 680 created the first Andover Public Library in the 1960s. They collected books and staffed their nascent library in an old bank building. The library and the community grew and later moved into a prefab temporary building in 1993. Soon, however, the growing community began wondering about a new library. The dreaming and planning led to a private-public partnership that the brought the new Andover Public Library to reality.
Library director, Carol Wohlford, greeted guests at a library “sneak preview” last week. She told the story of the quest to create a library design that would WOW visitors with open areas that “tap can imaginations” and quiet areas, too. A library that expolits available high tech options while providing the expected traditional library services. The WOW factor is no where more evident than the colorful, larger than life book arch inviting children into their own library.
The first green buidling in Andover, the library sits like a community jewel in a public park. The hign ceiling and open design is both inviting and engaging. “Clouds” spaced strategically across the library’s ceiling mask sound in busy areas like the children’s place. Bulding on the LEED (c) (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, most areas of the library include large windows that let in natural light but control heat and glare and reduce energy use and cost. High efficiency heating and cooling, flooring that neutralizes carbon dioxide emissions, eco-friendly furnishings and a green (literally), cool roof are just a few of Andover Public Library’s green features.
Capitalizing on a FEMA grant, the library also houses a FEMA storm shelter, a large room to keep park and library visitors safe. The library’s layout includes a reading-gathering area, a colorful children’s area, a genealogy room, a study room, a media room, a teen room, an art gallery that will feature children’s art, a coffee shop that feeds out to a patio and an outdoor reading garden. A curved, tiled wall with a counter, electrical outlets and comfy chairs serves as a “web bar” (laptop work area). A special conference room is video ready and the library’s computer lab includes 10 computers with room for more. All of these areas bear evidence of the library’s many private partners as does the “giving wall.” One unique partnership opportunity is the library’s “collegiate” program geared to stimulate competition among Kansas University, Kansas State University and Wichita State University.
Andover’s shiny new library will open to the public later this month. A celebration is planned that will include a Girl Scout honor guard and lots of fun in the park. A celebration that will honor the can-do attitude of the Girl Scouts who set the library on its path and the strong public-private partnership that has created a green library that will WOW its visitors. More pictures of the Andover Library can be found on the Andover Public Library website and on the State Library’s Flickr pages.