Community Library Committee Report

IV. Recommendations

Our Vision

  1. The Library is more than a building. It is an essential part of our community. It must expand its facilities in some meaningful manner.
  2. We would restore and preserve the historic structure. The existing John Jermain Memorial Library building is a landmark that honors a storied past and its people, and represents positive aspects of living in Sag Harbor. This building is the finest intact public building from any era on the East End and is to be treasured. The rotunda is an inspirational space that is unmatched in the community. It has a spirit and feeling that we want to preserve and enhance through the introduction of up-to-date mechanical systems and support spaces. We do not want to diminish its scale, character or presence with a large addition.
  3. The CLC has come to realize that just honoring the past isn’t enough. A spirit of uniting community and institution exists at the historic library building. Creating a new anchor at the entry of the village can extend this same spirit, bringing together two of Mrs. Sage’s visions: the Mashashimuet Park and the John Jermain Memorial Library. We have the opportunity to create a variety of library experiences through the preservation of the existing building and the creation of a new library building that will be completely different in character, thus bringing together two institutions that were created to enhance the physical and intellectual well-being of our community’s residents.
  4. We would have a more functional, contemplative, accessible building that will offer vital library services within walking distance of the village business district. The existing building is rich in detail and materials, a lovingly constructed substantial- feeling building well suited to reading, research, preservation of historic collections [after updating], meeting, exhibition and contemplative pursuits. A modest addition at the rear of the building will provide the necessary service spaces that the building presently lacks. With this addition, the building will become code compliant with modern heating, cooling, humidity control and lighting systems that will support the flexible variety of activities found in any modern library. The character and architecture of this historic building will be restored, and it will house specific uses, functions and segments of the collection that are well suited to it.
  5. Because the existing building cannot accommodate all of the needs of the JJML, expansion must take place to meet those needs. That required expansion would take place at a second site, leaving the existing historic structure and neighborhood much as it is now. The services and programs of the JJML would be able to grow and evolve with the needs of the patrons.
  6. We would have a modern, active, fully accessible building that offers vital services, with adequate on-site parking, adjacent to the village’s main recreation area. The library building at the second site would be an up-to-date, flexible building designed to modern library standards. It would be simple, direct and inspirational in its architecture. It would mark the entrance to the village and serve as a gateway to the community. It would be designed and constructed in a sustainable environmentally conscious way that will benefit the well-being of the users and the environment. It would feel different than the existing building because it would be constructed differently, have different programs and be connected to the outdoors and to Mashashimuet Park. It would be visually livelier than the existing building because it would be newer and embody forward-looking design and construction practices, technologies, assemblies and systems. It would be a beautiful complement to the substantial and venerable historic structure, and, like the existing building, would serve to remind future users of the vision of its creators. It would be constructed in a cost effective manner, mindful that the purpose of the expansion is to provide space for the JJML’s services and programs. The building would honor the tradition of the existing building by being a substantial structure, carefully thought out, and invested with the aspirations of the community.
  7. In this way, we honor the past and provide a way into the future. It is our responsibility to provide the means for this expansion so that the JJML might continue to live and grow in the decades to come. We do this by preserving, restoring and adapting the best features of the existing building. We provide flexible adaptable space at the second site that can be expanded for the next hundred years.

Our Recommendations

There are two basic categories of recommendations from the CLC to the JJML Board. One is process-oriented, and the other is program-oriented.

First the program:

  1. The existing building should be an integral part of a two building library system sufficient to meet the JJML’s needs. The existing building should be preserved, restored and adapted to current code and standards of library service. In addition, a new facility should be built.
  2. To accommodate the needs of the existing building, a modest addition should be made to house an elevator, second stairway, mechanical systems, accessible restrooms and storage. The addition must be three stories to adequately service the present three-story building. This building should become a multi-use facility, housing the historical collections, meeting and exhibition facilities, as well as materials and programs that are suited to the building.
  3. A new facility at a second site to be determined by the JJML Board should be constructed of sufficient size to meet the library’s needs. It is the belief of the CLC that the most suitable location at the moment is 425 Main Street, adjacent to Mashashimuet Park, currently owned by the JJML. However, uncertainties remain about this site’s capacity to accommodate the building, required parking and sanitary system, so we strongly recommend that the JJML Board pursue acquiring additional property adjacent to this site. We also recommend that the JJML Board remain receptive to other expansion possibilities, should the site adjacent to the Park prove to be unsuitable.
  4. The CLC recommends that uses suitable to the character of each building be considered. In no case should either building be considered a “branch” or part-time facility. Rather, each will be a facility serving particular needs of the JJML’s patrons.

Second, the process:

  1. There are many elements of the expansion design that need to be further defined, and the public must remain a part of this process. A new Committee, appointed by the JJML Board, similar to the CLC, a majority of whose members are not JJML Board members, should be established to manage the next phase of this process. This includes working out the details of the preservation, restoration and expansion program, including design, project costs, schedule, finance, communications, outreach and so forth. This new Committee will make recommendations to the JJML Board, which ultimately must make all of the decisions. Those organizations or entities that play a major role in the success of the restoration and expansion process should have representation on this Committee to ensure open lines of communication. For example, a representative from the Mashashimuet Park Board should serve on the Committee in the event the JJML Board chooses to pursue the expansion at 425 Main Street, adjacent to the Park.
  2. Solutions should be developed through consensus building and a willingness to listen to what the public has to say. Public relations, communication, fundraising and outreach all should work from the same script: the restoration of the existing building and the expansion of library facilities and services at a second site to meet the needs of the library district for the foreseeable future.
  3. There may be alternative solutions to topics investigated by the CLC, as well as additional subjects not investigated by the CLC, that arise during the design process. The new Committee should remain receptive to viable options and be prepared to include them in their ongoing discussion. However, the CLC recommends that the JJML Board commence the programming and design process for the restoration, preservation and expansion plans now based on the outline of the program and process above.

Elements of the Recommendation

Specifically, the CLC recommends that:

A physical expansion of the existing building of a size and program that will not tax the existing parking or be detrimental to the neighborhood, and including:

  • An elevator serving all floors
  • Second set of stairs
  • Accessible restrooms
  • Catering kitchen facilities
  • Staff lounge
  • Coatroom and entry
  • Mechanical space
  • Stack Space
  • Friends of the Library space (possibly in original structure)
  • Space for the sale of donated books
  • Adequate storage and stack space to allow the historic spaces to return to the original layout, exposing currently covered up or otherwise encumbered original architectural features such as fireplace, windows, stairs and bookcases
  • A connection to new outdoor space
  • Some form of garden, outdoor reading or gathering space

The restoration, renovation should provide:

  • New H.V.A.C. and wiring for the users’ comfort and preservation of collections
  • Where feasible, library service program elements should be chosen that do not conflict with anticipated program requirements, and the building’s original configuration should be restored wherever possible
  • Original features such as bookcases, doors, fireplace, light fixtures, stonework, glasswork, etc., should be restored. It is neither required nor desirable that every piece of millwork be re-finished as the building has fine patina and signs of use that should not be lost
  • The structure should be made water- and weather-tight.
  • Windows should not be replaced. They are in good shape and should be made serviceable and more energy efficient with the installation of operable storm windows.
  • The existing stair should not be closed off if possible, and a new, more inviting staircase should be extended to the ground level.
  • Where possible, existing furniture should be refurbished and reused.
  • Where needed, new furniture and finishes should be selected to be compatible with existing furniture, finishes and materials.

Accessibility

  • Area parking should be improved through the use of traffic calming measures. Additional drop-off areas should be provided.
  • Pedestrian access should be improved through the use of traffic calming measures.
  • Bike racks should be provided, as well as areas for parking strollers, etc.
  • The on-site site work should be designed and specified by trained professionals. Recommendations for improving area parking should be given to the village.

New building adjacent to Mashashimuet Park:

  • Library design experts or consultants should be hired to determine the square footage of the building. National or state standards should be used as a baseline.
  • The new building should be designed so as not to compete with the architecture of the existing building. It should be a simple building whose scale, materials, and language complement the historic park landscape. (Ditto for landscape design)
  • The building should have a strong connection to the outdoors
  • Interior layout should be flexible and expandable.
  • Interior materials should be modern and durable
  • The possibility of a “green” or “LEED certified” building should be pursued.
  • The new building should be friendly to users of the park.
  • The new building might contain some limited snack and beverage services for the convenience of patrons.
  • If possible, parking areas should be not visible from the street.
  • Non-vehicular accessibility should be examined from all directions.
  • Village sidewalks should extend to the new location.
  • Off-street bike paths should be added, bikers and walkers should feel the connection to the park rather than the traffic. Sidewalks and bike paths should be lit.
  • Trained professionals should work with the village to improve and control area traffic, intersections and pedestrian/vehicular relationships.
  • Passive recreation areas should be designed adjacent to the new building.
  • Mashashimuet Park Board members should be included in any new Committee to ensure that concerns of mutual interest are addressed and their resolutions coordinated with the new building.
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1 Comment »

  1. Medical Elevators

    IV. Recommendations | Community Library Committee Report

    Trackback by lifts ny — October 11, 2018 @ 7:12 am | Reply


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