The public in invited on Sunday Feb. 13, 12:30 p.m. to a brief opening ceremony of the year-long renovation of Murphy-Wilmot library, 530 N. Wilmot Rd. This branch library officially re-opens at 1 p.m. that Sunday at its original location, just south of E. 6th Street.
The “new” library will not disappoint customers. Architect Dino Sakellar, son of the library’s original architect, Nicholas Sakellar, retained the modernistic design features of the library, through the remodeled design. This design features an open floor plan with large window walls to let in plenty of light. New carpeting, concrete flooring and paint create a light-toned environment for browsing and reading. Here are some additional remodeling features:
* The branch library has been expanded by 5,000 square feet to a total of 20,000 square feet.
* The patio area outside has been enclosed and landscaped, adding some outdoor seating.
* Two study rooms have been added.
* A “teen area” has been added.
* Seating is increased and some is café style, so customers can sit and enjoy a snack.
* The main meeting room has been made larger.
* Customers can browse for materials in new display areas.
* All systems – electrical, lighting, heating/cooling, computers and phones – have been upgraded to make the library more efficient and comfortable.
Planning for the remodeling – the branch’s third since it opened in September 1965 – involved a great deal of community outreach through forums, focus groups and questionnaires, and many of the ideas offered by the community were included in the remodel.
The iconic and historic building was designed by Nicholas Sakellar and Associates and reflects his style of modern design in desert settings. The entire project cost approximately $5.5 million. Funds for the project came from a 2004 bond.
Go online to their website (click here) for sneak preview photos!
I attended the Pima Library Foundation’s preview/reception of this library yesterday, and was very impressed with the open air feeling, larger floor length windows, and mountain views of the Santa Catalinas as you walk into the library. There’s a comfortable cafe area to the right with 2 vending machines, 8 tables and lounge chairs, and a new teen center in the middle back area (with WiFi) leading out to the patio & grassy lawn, complete with some shaded tables & seats outside for discussions. The large community meeting room in the front of the library has been greatly expanded with attractive floor length windows. I also liked the two small futuristic cubicles (for studying) near the new children’s meeting room.
In attendance today were Pima County Library Director Nancy Ledeboer, Murphy- Wilmot branch manager Daphne Daly, architect Dino Sakellar, Hank Atha from Pima County Administration, District 4 Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll, Ward 2 Councilman Paul Cunningham, and many supporters of the Pima Library Foundation.
Supervisor Carroll praised the beautiful renovation and the community of Tucson where a library built by an architect father in 1965 can be renovated by his architect son in 2011. Councilman Cunningham was pleased with the new look also, as he stated that he had grown up in that library since he had lived nearby, and now his 2 sons (who were also present) were going to grow up in the same library. These father/son stories were touching, and brought to light a sense of family tradition here in Tucson.
A plaque dedicated to Pima Library Foundation co-founder & library advocate Betty Holpert (a former librarian at Wilmot Library) was unveiled in the Betty Holpert reading area (original sunken reading room). Betty was present yesterday to receive this fitting honor.
The Pima Library Foundation was “formed to ensure the continuing vitality and excellent services of the Pima County Public Library. This is accomplished by developing a permanent endowment fund.” For more information about the Foundation go to their website, www.pimalibraryfoundation.org or call 520-881-9876.
Attend this opening on Sunday and enjoy this lovely, modern renovation, “designed to bring the outdoors in” according to Director Nancy Ledeboer.
You won’t be disappointed.