South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Jennifer Szweda Jordan
Contributing Writer 

Residents let library officials know what they would like in renovations

 

The CLP-Knoxville is in line for renovations. Last week, area residents had the opportunity to tell library officials what they would like to see happen to the building.

A green roof would top the Knoxville library, and more computers and dedicated space for teenagers would fill the space inside if residents get their way.

Library users ranging in age from teens to senior citizens all chimed in at a recent meeting on the anticipated $1.5 million renovation Carnegie Library's Knoxville branch on Brownsville Road.

"We'd like to see something more like a jewel in the center of our community," one resident said, adding that the exterior's chain link fence and 1967 structure with two towers and a chain link fence looked like a prison. "We'd like it to shine."

GBBN's Edge Studio is slated to map out the Knoxville library's facelift. Edge Studio's resume includes other Carnegie branch libraries, Port Authority's glass-enclosed Gateway Center station, and even the facade of an International Center in Japan.

Two GBBN employees, Julian Sandoval and Amanda Markovic, took note of residents' ideas at the meeting.

"One of our goals is to enclose that (tower) space using glass possibly, and eliminate the chain link fence" that fronts the building, Ms. Markovic said, adding another goal is to establish a single entrance for the building, instead of the existing two.

Mary Monaghan, assistant director of all the Carnegie neighborhood libraries, narrated a slide show displaying the stunning results of previous renovations at Homewood, Squirrel Hill, Brookline, and other library buildings.

The Homewood library has a "completely restored interior," Ms. Monaghan said.

"Full of light, very airy. Everything's kid-sized" in the children's area, she said, pointing out chairs resembling tiny elephants.

Now, inside the Knoxville library, the main collections room is surrounded by exposed concrete block. Residents asked for a more attractive interior with a color scheme. Teenagers said they wanted more space and more separation from noisy younger children. Currently, teens have a designated aisle with a couch and lounging chair. They also asked for access to electronic games like the Xbox.

Older residents also asked for access to technology for different reasons. One man said he'd like to see the library offer use of electronic tablets so patrons can be prepared to use such devices in the workforce. About 10 computer desktop work stations are now available for visitors' use.

One resident said the computer stations are often full, so she frequently has to go to the main library in Oakland to do genealogical research through the library's ancestry research account. Another request was for additional electrical outlets for people who need to charge phones, computers or other devices.

Residents also want more powerful WiFi to connect to the internet in and around the library.

Ms. Monaghan said the plans for Knoxville definitely include additional hardware, green building features and full accessibility for disabled patrons, including an elevator.

Other suggestions from the brainstorming session included:

--A conference room and/or quiet work rooms. All present at the meeting agreed the library was too loud from street noise and due to the open unpartitioned space.

--A green space for community gardening around the library.

--An enclosed vestibule so people entering the library can have protection from the elements but conversations won't disrupt patrons working quietly. 

 

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