On a nippy spring Saturday morning, children and
adults crowded around the entrance as Mesquite District Councilmember
Cathy Carlat used a giant pair of scissors to snip the ribbon,
assisted by Mayor Bob Barrett.
"The grand opening of the new branch signifies a major
increase in services," says David Hunenberg, Peoria’s library manger.
"The building is meant not only to be a library but also a community
Barrett says the new building – along with the Rio
Vista Recreation Center – shows that Peoria "continues to step up and
improve" its services to residents.
The branch’s roof line and north side have a slight,
almost teasing, nautical theme based upon its proximity to Lake
Pleasant. The library has a contemporary layout that features three
long galleries, each representing a different and distinct service.
Those include separate areas for kids and teens, a community meeting
room, two study rooms and separate outdoor courtyards for adults and
youths. It’s high tech too, with wireless Internet access, rows of PCs
for public use and automated self-checkout kiosks.
"This library brings the community food for thought --
all wrapped up in a creative, high-quality package designed to move
with us into the future," says Carlat, in whose district the facility
sits. "Inside these walls, connectivity means more than any one
source. It means full access to unlimited resources, programs and
Interior furnishings have a retro, 1970s feel, with
soothing colors allowing the artwork to be the focal point.
Hunenberg says this will be nostalgic to some, "cool" to others. "The
design begs people to come and stay awhile," he says.
The 22,500-square-foot facility was built from the
ground up in a year. The project cost was $11.7 million, with
construction accounting for $7.7 million of that. The money came from
general obligation bonds, as well as library, park and trail impact
fees paid by developers to reflect the incremental cost of expanding
city infrastructure to support growth.
City plans call for a park immediately to the north of the library.
An elementary school is planned for north of the park.