Renovations for Peoria library move forward


The design phase for  major indoor renovations of Peoria’s main library will begin late spring.

The phase is part of a larger $3 million renovation project that has already begun.

Currently renovation of the Willow Room is underway.

Library and Cultural Services Manager Nathaniel Washburn said the continuing project will provide needed refurbishments to the building’s major components and address the evolving business model of public libraries.

Improvements are intended to create a seamless transition from exterior to interior, include ADA compliant restrooms and a functional outdoor area, as well as exterior shade structures.

The main library was built in 1991 and has had no major renovations or furniture replacements since then. This project was originally planned for interior and building systems refurbishment and replacement, but furniture modernization was prioritized in fiscal year 2017.

The fiscal year 2018 budget focused on fixed seating and ADA enhancements in the Willow Room, roof and HVAC system repairs, while developing a strategic plan for the future that includes citizen engagement and informs how the main library renovations will respond to system-wide needs.

Improvements this year and beyond will be informed by the strategic plan’s final recommendations and needed funding, according to the city’s capital improvement program.

The Peoria public library system is made up of two facilities: the 38,000 square foot Peoria main library, 8463 W. Monroe St., and the 22,000 square foot Sunrise Mountain Library, 21109 N. 98th Ave., operating on a $4.5 million budget annually, making it the sixth largest library jurisdiction in Arizona.

At a public meeting Mr. Washburn said libraries are evolving from quiet places of storage, content consumption and planned-use spaces, where capacity trumps experience to bustling places of production, content creation and multi-use spaces where experience trumps capacity. Libraries are becoming  more communal, he said.

“Libraries all over the world are shifting their focus from a collection-centric focus to a more user-centric, with an emphasis on connection,” Mr. Washburn said.