New city library to have plenty of bells and whistles

Building will be 16,600 square feet, have self-checkout capability, more computers and a large kids area
By: Sonney Wolfe, Special to The Placer Herald
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Just a few blocks from the train station, a different railway will be pulling in — one that kids, families and booklovers alike will soon be able to board. The new Rocklin library, situated on the corner of Rocklin Road and Granite Drive, will reflect the community’s railroad history with track-like decorations, railroad cars and colors that echo the surrounding areas – striking blues, yellows, greens and browns, said Mark Parker, director of Library Services. Construction, funded by Placer County and originally estimated at $3.2 million, was awarded to Sequoia Pacific Builders, Inc. at a bid of $2.3 million, resulting in approximately $900,000 in savings, said Hope Bostic, architect for Placer County, and project manager for the new library. When finished, the two-story library will more than double the current library’s size at a whopping 16,600 square feet vs. the current 7,800. In response to a community survey, almost the entire first floor will be dedicated to kids. Senior Librarian Eve Nyren said everyone is really excited to have more room for the children. Currently, there is only one small space for kids, and sometimes it infringes on the other areas. Soon everyone will have their own zone with room enough for kids to “be kids” without interrupting anyone. Frequent visitors of the current library, Thom Jacobs, a local patron since the 1980s, and Gregory Gaiser, coming for the last few years, both agreed the extra space will help quiet things down — although Jacobs said he wished the library could stay in the same secluded area. “The new place is on a really busy corner,” Jacobs said. Parker said the extra space will allow for a more relaxed environment with lots of new areas like a quiet reading area for customary library readers, and an active reading area for people who wish to visit or chat. There will also be a community room divided by movable partitions, which will make up the study and meeting room. A “destination space” is also on the list. “It will house living room-type seating that is more comfortable and allows for people to sit down and relax, stay awhile,” Parker said. Technology wise, the library will provide 14 public Internet computers (the current library has only three), and patrons will be able to reserve computer time. AV equipment will be available in the community room, and they’re looking at mounting a few flat-panel screens to serve as kiosks, Parker said. Books will be equipped with new tracking devices allowing check-in and check-out procedures to take place via Radio-Frequency Identification. The RFID system will tag books for security gates and allow customers to check their own books out, Parker said. On the roof, some more technology: Bostic said they are installing “somewhat of a hybrid” HVAC system. There are two original HVAC units on the roof that will be utilized in conjunction with Variable Refrigerant Flow units by Mitsubishi. While the original units provide fresh air to the building, the VRF units, which are ductless, will provide recycled air, run approximately 16.4 percent more efficient than a typical roof-mounted mechanical unit, and help provide heating and cooling to smaller, specific areas. Aiding technology users, every table in the new library will be a “hot spot” for laptops and chargers of all sorts to “plug in,” Nyren said. Although beverages will not be sold at the library, Parker said they’re working on an arrangement with Starbucks across the street to allow for people to bring their drinks inside. For now, Nyren said all children’s story times and adult-book clubs will remain the same with only a slight variation on moving day. “The project is currently on schedule for completion in late fall, with occupancy and reopening in early 2011,” Bostic said.