Coming Soon to CdM: a ‘Fibrary’

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Webster’s Dictionary defines a “mash-up” as a “mixture or fusion of disparate elements.” There are celebrity face mash-ups (think Brad Pitt meets George Clooney, Barack Obama meets Hilary Clinton…not so much) and famous movie dance scene mash-ups on youtube.

Now we have a “Fibrary,” Newport’s very own version of the mash-up (otherwise known by the moniker “LiberStation.”)

On March 24, the City Council considered a professional services agreement with WLC Architects for the design of the Fibrary — a combined branch library and fire station in Corona del Mar.

After a number of public and Council comments about the size of the library footprint and the need to include appropriate technological design elements, the Council unanimously approved the contract.

The design plan anticipates an approximately 2,500 square foot branch library as part of a joint use facility with the fire station. In a vacuum, this appears to be a sizeable reduction of the current branch size of 3,750 square feet, but not so much after a detailed review of the design plan.

A significant space saving occurs from the shared services like mechanical rooms and public restrooms. In addition, square footage is saved through the reworking of underutilized space in the current branch like staff offices and storage areas (which comprise about a third of the current branch.) The net result is roughly the same amount of usable branch library space.

According to Library Director Tim Hetherton, “The open floor plan offers a broad palette for customer amenities. The facility will allow the Library to upgrade technology, usability, and workflow. The proposed branch represents an important affirmation by the Library and City for a continued presence in Corona del Mar. The branch has been an important part of daily life in Corona del Mar since 1959 and, if approved, it will be our privilege and honor to continue this critical service.”

To minimize the impact of the branch closure during construction, the Library plans to provide interim children’s programming and a browsing collection of children’s materials at the Grant Howald Park & Community Youth Center.

Corona del Mar residents can also use the ongoing concierge services at OASIS Senior Center (placing and picking up holds, returning items, etc.).

The design schedule includes a defined element of public engagement and outreach to occur after the architect selection during the design process. The community will have a number of opportunities to meet with the project team to discuss features, aesthetics and other elements starting this spring and continuing into the fall. Construction is anticipated to be complete by the spring of 2017.

Residents can also register comments or concerns at monthly Board of Library Trustee meetings (usually held at 5 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the Central Library) or contact Library Director Hetherton at [email protected].

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