New Canaan Library will stay in place
Updated 8:44 pm, Wednesday, December 28, 2011
After years of discussion and debate, the New Canaan Library Board of Trustees recently voted unanimously to stay in their current location and renovate as opposed to finding a new location in town.
"The Board of Trustees of New Canaan Library made the unanimous decision, after years of thoughtful and careful consideration of our patrons' values and needs, that our future is linked to our heritage and that staying where we are is the best decision," Board of Trustees President Laura G. Einstein said in a release. "We are committed to an efficient and effective intellectual center and look forward to a building project that every New Canaan resident will be proud to support."
More InformationFact box
Executive Director Alice Knapp said "these are very exciting times" as she expressed her delight with the decision.
The decision to stay means all other potential locations as discussed by the Long Range Planning Committee are out of the picture now. Knapp said one of the main reasons they decided to stay was because they felt it was what the community wanted.
"We spent a year listening to the community about what they want in their library. And now I think we'll really be able to deliver it to them. They wanted to stay here and it now we can move forward with the next step," Knapp said.
The next step, as mentioned earlier, is to select and architect for the project. Knapp said they will be interviewing several different firms for the project.
"This is a very, very important relationship because we will be living and working with them for the next several years," Knapp said. "So we want to make sure they understand the needs of New Canaan and the community.
First Selectman Rob Mallozzi was thrilled with the decision.
"I'm very pleased with the library decision to rebuild in place. I think its central to a vibrant downtown environment and the tradition and history of that building is important to maintain and grow within," Mallozzi said. "We are thrilled that they have decided to both plan for their future and respect their roots by staying at the same location they have been in for 99 years."
The board also unanimously decided to request qualifications for an architectural firm for the upcoming project at the same meeting.
"We will work with our architects to determine the best and most pragmatic way to create a new facility that meets the needs of our patrons and corrects the facility's shortfalls identified over the past few years of study," Elizabeth Ellsworth, vice president of the board and chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, said. "(Such as) the need for more flexible and efficient space, improving our technology services to meet patron demand, accommodating the learning skills embraced by our excellent schools, including collaborative work environments for students, updating necessary aspects of our aging infrastructure and ensuring more and safer parking."
Knapp said she was very excited about the decision and the project moving forward.
"This is a strong board with both vision and fiscal acumen. Every step of the way, the patron has been our priority and the board has considered all the input they received from surveys, meetings and focus groups in making the decision to move us forward on the same site," Knapp said. "I know that the emphasis will remain on the patron and that any plans will strive for minimal disruption on the community during any construction, but ultimately provide maximum impact on their future library experience."
Knapp said they are currently in the process of finding the architect for the project and they hope to make an announcement on that in the spring.