The new Provo Public Library building is too small, too noisy and poorly planned, says a consulting firm.
Library Director Howard Downey said HBW Associates Inc. is "probably the premier public library consultant." The principal consultant, Richard L. Waters, travels all over the country analyzing library designs and making suggestions on how libraries can be better utilized."There is no nice or polite way to communicate that the new Provo Public Library is not a good library building," says the summary to the report on the library.
The most serious problems outlined in the report are capacity, noise level, utilization of existing space, and library access.
"The building is now at capacity as far as the bookstacks are concerned," Waters said in the report. "Without additional space, reprogramming of the existing space and/or installation of compact shelving, the library will have to begin to withdraw one book for every one book added to the collections within the next 12 to 24 months.
"Without question, the building is noisy." Waters said he observed that one young child made a significant amount of disturbance. With the number of children in the library, it is not a quiet place.
"The surest way to correct the noise problem is to locate Children's Services to the first level," Waters said. He said at least four of the downstairs rooms would have to be eliminated. Waters suggested removing the conference room and the book-sale room. He recommended space for the book sale be leased elsewhere.
He suggested the Parent's Educational Resource Center on the first level be eliminated by merging it with an expanded children's section.
Project Read also should be moved to the main level, with more small-room conference space.
Noise could be dampened by replacing the flooring. "The flooring around the main-level entrance and elevator is another noise generator when persons walk on the floor or book trucks are rolled across it," says the report.
"The amphitheater, designed and constructed at great expense, is not used because of its location. Corrective measures would likely be very expensive," said the report.
The amphitheater is on the south side of the library. Access to the library from the parking lot is along the sides of the amphitheater.
"The ledges in and around the amphitheater, the handicapped ramp and the building itself present a potential danger to young children whose natural instincts are to climb these spaces," the report says.
Downey presented the report to the City Council at its study meeting. He said the library board would discuss the report and possible solutions at the next board meeting, Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the library.
It probably will be January before the board makes recommendations to the City Council and the mayor, said Downey.
The library was dedicated in May 1989 after extensive fund-raising efforts and controversies over location and design.
The report concluded, "By recognizing that there is a problem the City of Provo and the Provo Public Library have taken the all important first step toward a solution."