Given Library/Archives Must Expand to Improve Services
The writer is board president at Given Memorial Library/Tufts Archives in the village of Pinehurst.
By Dr. Michael Sanders
Special to The Pilot
The Tufts family and other prominent Pinehurst residents realized the critical role that a library plays in the life of a community. The Given Memorial Library was built in 1964 as a result of the generosity of Sarah Given Larson, Richard S. Tufts and Eric Nelson.
These founders identified two purposes for the library:
- To establish, own, operate and maintain a public library and do everything needed for the proper management and operation thereof.
- To own, maintain and operate a public museum for the display of relics, antiques and the like.
Richard Tufts donated the land and placed the library at the center of the village on the green across from the Holly Inn. The Tufts Archives wing of the library was added to the building in 1975, again through the vision and generosity of the Tufts family. These actions demonstrated the value the family placed on history, as well as literary and intellectual stimulation.
The building was designed to support the Pinehurst community, which then had fewer than 2,000 people and has now grown to more than 13,000 and is projected to have 16,000 by 2020. Not surprisingly, the 46-year-old facility does not have adequate space to support the original vision with the sevenfold increase in population.
The space limitations of the library were documented as far back as 1996, when the library board commissioned a library design consultant to review the use and future expansion of the building. The review found that the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives consist of 7,471 gross square feet, of which the library occupies 3,677 square feet and the archives 1,904, and a basement that serves primarily as storage for the archives and library.
The land owned by the library occupies about six-tenths of an acre. The library design consultant review stated, "The existing facility is essentially being used to capacity by both the library and archives."
It further stated, "The basement area does not have access for persons with disabilities, and for this reason alone, it is completely unsuitable as public service space, be it a children's area, a meeting space, or some other public function. This same lack of access should also be a concern in using this space as staff work area."
The external library space review also said, "As with the library, growth of one aspect of the archive can only occur at the expense of another aspect of the present facility. For example, more collection storage space can only be gained at the expense of display space, public seating space, or staff work space, all of which are limited."
The question has been posed: Why not expand up instead of out? This suggestion has been discussed by the board members in the past, and the following is provided for your consideration:
- The building cost and library/archives down time would be considerable if we tried to expand upward. The library/archives would have to be closed for a year or more if we removed the roof, created a new foundation and wall support system that would support two floors, and then built the second story. The building as we know it now would have a radically altered appearance.
- There is a significant concern about preserving the archived materials during this roof removal and upward expansion.
- As indicated above, the current wall structure was designed to support the current roof and not a second story. The cost and redesign of the building structure would be significant. The overall conclusion is that the idea of an upward expansion is not feasible and is cost-prohibitive.
- The concept for expansion that we envision would have minimum impact on the existing facility.
Some concerns have been expressed about cutting down trees on the Village Green to expand the library. Any trees that have to be removed to provide the space for the proposed expansion will be counted and an equal number planted in a landscape that is not random but designed to invite participation and entry into the library from the sand parking lot.
The landscape design, as well as the building design, will maintain the integrity of the architectural and historic ambience of the village and will be vetted by the National Park Service.
Our intention is to work with the Park Service to preserve the historic status while systematically enhancing the village and meeting the needs of the community. We are excited about the central role the library and archives play in the community.
The requested land expansion of eight-tenths of an acre will provide the necessary area to expand the facility and enhance the programs and services that enrich the lives of Pinehurst's residents and visitors.
More like this story