- Children's Section
- Events & Programs
- Links & Resources
- Teen Section
Why does the Library need to expand?
The population that the Library serves has increased 38% since the library’s last expansion, and the number of people using the library annually has risen 76%. We are at the tipping point of being able to provide effective service now, and once new home construction resumes, the Library will be unable to meet the needs of our service area.
Construction of a new Library will allow us to meet member demands for additional children’s programs, computer and technology classes, a secluded reading room, a teen area, and expansions of seating space and publicly accessible computers.
How do you determine when expansion of the Library is needed?
Based on historical usage and trends for the Library, current and projected demographic and housing projections for the library service area, and general library trends in the United States, the Board was tasked with evaluating the ability of the current facility to serve our patrons given the recommendations and standards set by the Delaware Division of Libraries (DDL) and the expressed needs and desires of our members and the service area.
A Needs Assessment conducted by Buck Simpers Architect + Associates in the summer of 2010 found that the existing building “can no longer accommodate the extensive public use and parking is inadequate. These deficiencies adversely impact functionality of the building, flexibility, expansion opportunities and use as a public facility.”
The Needs Assessment was conducted as part of a statewide effort to improve library service in Delaware, implemented in 2005, at which time Delaware’s libraries ranked 35th in the nation. As part of the Statewide Master Plan for Library Services and Construction, aimed at making Delaware libraries among the best in the nation, DDL has asked the State’s Library Boards to develop plans to ensure that their publics are appropriately served for the next 20 to 30 years. DDL has overseen the allocation of over $69.5 million for funding of the construction, expansion, or renovation of 32 of the State’s 34 public libraries.
The Library Board of Commissioners relies on DDL and census estimates for expected population growth within our service area. The DDL goal for library size is one square foot for every resident within the service area. Currently, the Lewes Library is 14,600 square feet in size vs. a service area population of 17,073. Within 20 years, our service area population is expected to grow to over 30,000.
How has Library use changed since the last expansion?
While population has increased 38% in the past decade, the number of Library cardholders has increased 80%: the Library now has more than 12,500 members. More than 150,000 visits were made to the Library in the past year, a 76% increase, and 175,000 items were checked out, a 58% increase. The Library’s book collection has increased in size by 28%, and Internet use has nearly tripled.
The Library’s range of programs has grown massively since the last expansion: in 2002, 12 programs were offered for adults. In 2012, 276 were offered. Children’s programs have increase from 205 to 267, with attendance increasing 56% to 7,854. Literary, technological, financial, and arts programming gives the community access to the information they desire, whether for education or entertainment.
What is the current status of the Lewes Public Library with regard to capacity?
When reviewing the need for, and the nature of, growth, the Library Board considers the impact that the building has on library operations and the impact that additional space would have in improving library service to our members. Our community has seen significant growth in the past decade, and library usage has increased even more so. The Library Board must carefully consider our community’s needs—expressed in workshops, surveys, and general comments—and the library’s ability to serve the informational needs of our service area. When new housing construction picks up in the Lewes area again, our Library will quickly reach the point where it is unable to satisfactorily serve our members.
Library programs and public access computers, as well as the parking lot, are routinely full. The back room staff/work areas are far beyond capacity. Our 5 full time and 13 part-time staff members work in a space that was designed for 4 people. Volunteers, also working all day, every day, share this work area. Current computer usage averages 75% of capacity, with the Library routinely over capacity in the mornings, leading to waiting lists and opportunity lost for our patrons. Summer usage is well above capacity, and the Library is forced to shorten computer sessions to 30 minutes from June through August.
The Library frequently runs into difficulty scheduling programs, and children’s programs during summer draw attendance in excess of the limit on the large meeting room. The Delaware Room does not have capacity for the Library’s historical holdings, and there is no space to serve the community’s teen population.
The Library surveyed our members in the spring and summer of 2010, receiving over 450 responses. Our members expressed interest in computer classes, a secluded reading room, tutor rooms, more adult programs, more story-times, and teen programs to name a few. By expanding our square footage, we will be better prepared to accommodate our members’ demands. The spatial matrix included in the Needs Assessment calls for a computer training room, a designated children’s program room, a room for the area’s teens, and significant expansion to the Library in seating space and computers.
The number of available parking spaces is already significantly less than the recommended number. Our Library, now at 14,600 sq.ft., should have 73 parking spaces to meet the State's goal of 1 space per 200 square feet. Currently, we have 41 public spaces, 4 of which are handicap reserved. There are 16 nearby residential spaces frequently used by library visitors. So it could be said that, generously, there are 57 spaces available. While the Board realizes that there is a balance and that the amount of available parking varies drastically at any given time, parking space is critical in the mornings, during the summer, and whenever a program is occurring. Population growth in the area must also be taken into account when considering library parking over the next three decades.
How will new technologies impact the required size of future libraries? Won’t fewer books be needed?
The future of the book is difficult to predict, but the hard copy is far from slowing down. More than 140,000 books are checked out of the Library each year, and the Library now circulates more books monthly than it did annually thirty years ago.
Technological advances have made possible the online catalog and rapid statewide lending, giving our patrons access to over one million titles, obtainable, at no cost, in a few days.
Other technologies have driven growth in libraries. Demand for technological skills in the workforce, as well as daily life, creates a need in our community for training in the use of hardware and software, from basic usage skills to Web browsing and the use of applications like Microsoft Office. As new applications, platforms, and devices roll out faster, the need for continued learning will only become increasingly vital. The Library has, in the past year, added ebooks, downloadable audiobooks, online language learning, and educational resources, allowing our members to use our services whether on site or at home, driving demand for other library services and training classes.
The Library also provides the only freely accessible computers in the area, allowing those in our community who cannot afford their own computers to research matters vital in their lives, keep in touch with family and friends, and search and apply for jobs online.
What comprises the Lewes Library service area?
The Delaware Division of Libraries uses a formula which
designates service areas for all of the libraries in the State. Our service area consists of a region including the City of Lewes, the Greater Lewes Area, and extends six miles from the Library on Rte. 9, Rte. 24 and up Rte. 1 to Broadkill Beach. This area currently includes 17,073 people, as follows:
|2010 Estimates||2020 Estimates|
|City of Lewes||2,747*||3,529|
|Greater Lewes Area||5,547||9,179|
|DDL Library Service Area||17,073||
(From Delaware Division of Libraries and the Greater Lewes Foundation’s Future Scan. City population and library service area size are exact figures, per the 2010 census.)
The Lewes Library has 12,992 card-holders. Of these, 59% of reside within the 19958 zip code, and another 28% come from neighboring zip codes. The remaining 13% includes second property owners and visitors from out of town.
How was the site selected?
Following an April 19, 2010 presentation by the Library Board and BSA+A regarding expansion at the current site, the Lewes Parks and Recreation Commission recommended to City Council that Library expansion not intrude into Stango Park, leading the Library to consider other site options within and outside of the city. The Library at this time began to evaluate several vacant parcels in the Lewes area, including land owned by Beebe Hospital, the Cape Henlopen School District, the adjacent Thompson property, the Warrington property between Savannah Road and Kings Highway, and the Five Points property.
Several considered properties were either not for sale or too large - as was the case with the 5.6-acre Thompson property - for the Library’s needs. After consideration of potential properties, a team of resident volunteers was assembled in June 2011 to evaluate six potential sites: an expansion of the current facility, including parking on the Thompson parcel; the Five Points parcel; the Warrington parcel; the Kennedy parcel along the canal; the Lingo parcel on Kings Highway; and the Groome Church parcel along New Road. This Site Evaluation Committee considered the sites’ parking potential, accessibility, visibility by passers-by, views distant and close, and the building "fit" into the fabric of the community.
These criteria were coupled with professional reviews of site capacity, development costs, physiography, and legal matters. The Site Evaluation Committee gave its highest scores to the current site and the Five Points site.
While the Board deliberated between these two sites, considering the site evaluations and the cost of each project, the possibility of new construction on the Thompson property re-emerged in January 2012, as part of a larger project including a trailhead for the Rails with Trails network linking Rehoboth Beach, Lewes and Georgetown.
After considering a portion of this larger parcel - offering further expansion in the decades ahead - and collaboration with the City of Lewes, the Greater Lewes Foundation, and state agencies involved in the multi-use Rails with Trails network, the Board selected the Thompson site on March 13, 2012.
The Greater Lewes Foundation and the City of Lewes negotiated with the property owner, and a price of $2.5 million was agreed to in December 2012. The Board approved the expenditure of up to $700,000 to fund land acquisition, and the Lewes City Council agreed to acquire the land at a Special Meeting on December 19. Final settlement occurred on December 27, 2012.
How was the land acquisition funded?
The anticipated breakdown of funds used for land acquisition is:
The final City contribution will be determined by the amounts of actual state funds received and any additional funds from donations and foundations not included in the estimate above. Regardless of the totals received from outside sources, this acquisition has incorporated measures that will protect Lewes taxpayers.
The City's share of land acquisition funds will be raised from the sale of three residential lots on Burton Ave. To meet the December 31, 2012 target for acquisition, the City has borrowed funds from the Lewes Board of Public Works under a 24-month agreement in which the City will pay interest to the BPW at the same rate the BPW receives on invested funds. Funds from the Delaware Division of Libraries are anticipated as part of the FY14 Bond Bill.
The breakdown of funds at the time of settlement was:
Will the Library use the entire property?
No. For a 30,000 square foot building and parking, the Library will likely need 3.5 acres. The building’s footprint itself will take up roughly 10% of the parcel.
What else is planned for the Thompson property?
The City of Lewes is Master Planning the public lands that encompass the former Thompson property, the Library’s current location, and Stango Park. Approximately 1.2 acres of the recently acquired property will be dedicated to outdoor recreation, in the form of a trailhead serving the Georgetown-Lewes Rails with Trails project, the Junction-Breakwater Trail, and Gordons Pond Trail. Opportunities to explore new recreational and public amenities within an expanded Stango Park are a part of this planning effort.
How will the property be accessed?
A rail crossing on Adams Avenue is expected to be the primary entrance to the complex. There will also be an entrance off Monroe Avenue.
What will happen to the current facility?
The Library’s current facility is owned by the City. Future use of the current building is still to be determined, including possible use by non-profits, lease of space for continuing education, or other options. A major factor in the decision regarding the future of this building rests with the ability of the City to fund operational expenses, or for the tenant to contribute in part or in whole to these expenses. As these costs will increase in the future, this decision becomes a significant one in terms of the long-term financial impact.
What about just fixing up the current building?
In its review of the current facility, the Needs Assessment had two relevant findings. First, that “due to the residential nature of construction of the existing building, the second floor is not suitable for support of the increased weight load commensurate with the addition of collection stack area” Secondly, that “a catalog of major upgrades necessary throughout all systems (is) necessary to bring the building into compliance to the standards essential in a public/municipal building.” Performing these renovations, exclusive of any addition, would cost close to a million dollars.
Expansion would also necessitate a temporary location for the Library during 18 months of construction, intrusion into Stango Park, and permanent increases in staffing measures to manage spreading core library services between two floors. If population and usage trends continue, future Boards would be constrained from expansion without taking over Stango Park in totality.
What will the new Library look like?
The new Library will be 30,000 square feet, and will include significant expansions of space for technology, children’s services, seating and meeting space, and the Delaware Room. The new Library will also include dedicated space for computer classes, teen services, and the Friends of the Library.
|Space||Existing Sq. Footage||Recommended Sq. Footage|
|Computers & Technology||400||600|
|Friends of LPL||0||630|
|Adult Collections & Seating||3,200||6,750|
|Conference Areal; Training & Tutoring Rooms||2,430||5,245|
|Storage, Mechanical, Etc.||775||1,250|
|Total Net Square Footage||12,189||24,070|
|Total Square Footage||14,627||28,884|
Structurally, the new Library will take its design cues from the current Library to integrate views from Kings Highway and Stango Park and to create a gateway view along Freeman Highway.
How will the Library be designed?
The Library solicited for members of the public to join a Design Committee in March 2013, and the committee convened on April 5 to guide the design stages of the building process. The committee members are:
This committee will work in collaboration with Becker Morgan Group to create a pleasing and functional design for the new library. Meetings will be held the first Wednesday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. A second meeting, if necessary, will be held on the third Wednesday, also at 9:00 a.m. All Design Committee meetings are open to the public.
Who pays for Library building construction or expansion costs when that is needed?
The State of Delaware pays 50% of any building construction or expansion costs and 50% of the appraised value of land acquisition through annual bond bills, with the balance required as a match from private donations.
Based on initial discussions with our fundraising firm, Horizon Philanthropic, and the support of foundations for library projects, the remainder of the funds will be raised from:
In order to receive both operational and capital support, we must comply with state service and policy guidelines as we serve all residents within our service area, as well as anyone who wishes to use the Lewes Public Library, including summer visitors from other parts of our state, the country and the world.
Who pays for the Library operating costs?
We receive operating support from the following sources:
Of our private donations, 73% come from donors who live within the 19958 zip code.
While the Library is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit, we report to the Delaware and Sussex County Divisions of Libraries as part of the statewide library system. The Library’s service must meet the Delaware Public Library Standards and Guidelines, and the state and county contribute 50% of operating revenues.
What are the next steps in the process?
The Design Committee will be meeting on the first Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. through the completion of the building’s design. If more than one meeting per month is necessary, it will be held on the third Wednesday, also at 9:00 a.m. All meetings are open to the public.
Information on the Design Committee’s meetings and recommendations will be posted on the Library’s Web site under “The Future of the Lewes Public Library.”
Our architects, Becker Morgan Group, are working with the Committee to prepare concepts for the site. The design phase of the project is anticipated to take a year, and construction itself eighteen months.
The Library is currently working with Horizon Philanthropic to reach out to individual donors and foundations to fund the construction of a facility to serve the Lewes area for decades to come. The Board is seeking candidates to serve on the Capital Campaign Committee. If interested in serving, please contact Ed Goyda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DelDOT has committed to the engineering and construction of a trailhead on the new property. DDL and DelDOT are providing engineering, design, and construction assistance for the complex. DNREC and DDL are partners in the acquisition of the property.
The number of items checked out of the library annually has increased 63%, from 110,975 to 180,959. The number of library visits has increased 76%, from 86,721 to 152,976. Library membership has increased 80%, from 7,212 to 12,992.
Library Internet use has increased 174%, from 5,980 to 16,365. The library’s collection has grown 27%, from 42,185 to 53,719.
The number of adult programs offered annually has increased 2,200%, from 12 to 276, and attendance has increased 529%, from 390 to 2,623. The number of children’s programs offered annually has increased 30%, from 205 to 267, and attendance has increased 56%, from 5,043 to 7,854.