Case Summary (Archive Page–Historical Information Only)
The Wilton Library no longer meets the needs of the community. The current facility is twenty-seven years old and is at overcapacity. All aspects of the Library’s use have grown significantly in the last ten years while the building’s size has not changed since 1975.
Growth in the general population as well as in key user segments, notably children, teens and older adults, has put a strain on the Library. The changing mix of collection materials has made a greater demand on collection space requirements than population growth would entail on its own. New technology has added to space requirements, augmenting rather than replacing the print collections. The Library’s fastest growing area of circulation is media: CDs, DVDs, audio books and videos fill the lobby for lack of space elsewhere.
Library users have told us there is not enough work space or quiet space, not enough computers or data ports, and no small meeting rooms. Programs throughout the Library are oversubscribed. The Community Room, seating a maximum of 55 people, is needed for library programs, local business and general community use but is too small and poorly equipped to meet Wilton’s needs. The lack of space in Children’s Services is even more acute.
Workspaces and offices for staff are severely limited. Thirty-five people currently work in an area planned for a staff of six. The lack of room makes it impossible for the Library to use as many volunteers as it would like for routine tasks. Quite simply, we are out of space, and it is time for the Library to expand.
For two and a half years, the Future Committee, twenty community leaders representing different interests and demographic groups, has engaged in a strategic planning process to determine how the Wilton Library should change and grow to meet the needs of the community for the next twenty-five years. We have conducted focus groups and a touch-screen survey, mailed the “Library Listens” survey to every Wilton home, and arranged meetings with individuals and organizations in town. We have led innumerable tours through the existing facility and answered a wide range of questions from all interested individuals.
What we have learned is that almost everyone loves the Library, that it is a great little library, but what they want is more of it. That is possible only by doubling the size of our current building and insuring that the new and renovated construction will be flexible space. The reconfiguration of the space inside the present building plus a two-story addition will allow us to implement many improvements and give us room to grow.
After a space-needs study for the building program was completed, the Future Committee hired the architectural firm of Tai Soo Kim Partners to work on conceptualizing an expansion that would respect the original modernist design and meet future functional needs.
The new design will not only maintain the open feeling of the Library and use of natural light, but it will also bring inside the beauty of the new courtyard gardens.
The highlights of the new and renovated spaces include:
- New Children’s Library with larger rooms for story hours, craft projects and an expanded collection
- New Community Room with flexible seating accommodating up to 150 people for lectures and other programs, small concerts, and business and community group meetings
- New Technology encompassing a computer training lab, more computers and network access points
- Teen Services Area with comfortable seating where teens can browse their own book collection and where they can receive help with homework or work on projects with friends
- Quiet Study/Reading Areas with comfortable chairs and attractive intimate workspaces surrounding two landscaped courtyards
- More Books in All Forms with additional and more accessible shelves offering more current titles, more large print selections, videos, DVDs and audio books
- Convenient, Easy Access with an entrance closer to an expanded parking lot, improved handicapped access, a self-checkout, and a drive-up window
- Art for the Community throughout the Library
The total cost of the project is currently estimated to be $8,700,000. Even though the Library will conduct a campaign to raise at least $3,000,000 privately, we know it will be necessary to ask the Town in May to approve an appropriation for the remainder.
As a community we have invested in schools, athletics, and open space … now it is time for us to invest in our Library. In 1973 Virginia Adams, President of the Board of Trustees, said, “The Library speaks a great deal about the community it serves.” These words are as true today as they were then.
Let us move confidently into the future, continuing the development of our Library to be the very best reflection of our community’s intellectual and cultural interests and aspirations. Our expanded Library in the heart of the town center will make Wilton an even more vibrant and vital place to live than it is today … for the next twenty-five years and more.