Thursday, January 16, 2014

Proposed Renovations of Tacony Library

A massive renovation of the Tacony Library is in the works, and there are some serious issues that need to be addressed before it runs ahead of everyone and the community finds itself with a library     that it had no hand in envisioning.  Below you will find the proposed floor plan of the renovation, a list of concerns with the plans as they currently exist, along with a study that was conducted about how much shelving space will be lost as a result of the project.
The Tacony library is currently the second busiest library in Philadelphia.  The extent of these renovations mean the library closing down for an undetermined amount of time. The plans proposed also leave no where for the Book Sales currently held in the basement.
No one opposes renovating the building per se.  As a matter of fact, the building could use more computers and updated infrastructure, improved sightlines, and an overall facelift.  The issues we share are contained in the attachments.  If it would please you, please express your concerns to the appropriate authorities, because it is our hope that the renovations will not be scuttled but rather amended to better reflect the true needs and desires of the library’s real owners, the residents of the Tacony community.  You can contact Siobhan Reardon she is the President of the Free Library of Philadelphia.  215-686-5322   Free Library of Philadelphia  1901 Vine Street  Philadelphia PA  19103. 

Floor Plans:

Concerns Regarding Proposed Tacony Library Renovations
The following are concerns that the staff at Tacony Library shares concerning the proposed branch renovations:
  1. The organizations consulted in the planning stages do not adequately represent the actual residents of the Tacony community.  The Tacony Community Development Corporation was barely involved.  The Tacony Civic Association, the Tacony Business Association, the Tacony Historical Society, and the Friends of Tacony Library were not consulted.  The only meeting for the general public was poorly advertised and very poorly attended.  Therefore, the plans as they currently stand, most likely do not represent the needs or desires of the community.
  2. The staff of the Tacony Library was not consulted at all.  Therefore, the plans do not include any input from people who actually have worked in and with the building as it exists today.  Therefore, known strengths of the building most likely have not been considered, nor have known deficiencies in functionality and workflow.  Furthermore, the new configuration was not designed by experienced library workers; it was designed as a theoretical construct.
  3. There are both safety and functionality concerns with moving the staff workroom into a far corner of the basement.  Functionality: if the branch becomes very busy and extra staff support is needed on the main public floor, staff will have to be paged and then the public will have to wait for someone to come up from downstairs.  Safety: distance is also an issue here as staff cannot readily come to anyone’s assistance when they are working away from the public in the basement.
  4. The proposed renovations call for a drastic reduction in shelving space for both adult and children’s materials.  Tacony is one of the busiest libraries in the City, with high circulation of materials and a collection of approximately 34,000 items.  The reconfigured library will have room for 57% fewer items for the community to borrow.  This does not enhance family literacy, encourage curiosity, engage the public, or provide necessary information for all citizens of the community.  This detracts from it.
  5. The new shelving for the library does not seem to be user friendly.  It is established that library users prefer to access books from shelves that are between thigh and shoulder height, because this does not require excessive bending or reaching.  Much of the new shelving appears to be low, which will have books near the floor and require considerable bending to reach.
  6. The target group for the reimagined Tacony Library is the entrepreneur or small business owner.  While this is a segment of the Tacony community, it is not a large enough segment to be regarded as the library’s target group.  Tacony Library also serves, and must continue to serve, the needs of preschoolers, school-age, New Americans, job seekers, senior adults, adult learners, and teens.  Some of these demographic groups, like New Americans, are a growing population and need to be factored into the future constituencies of the library.


Loss of Shelving Space in Tacony Library’s Proposed Renovations

Current Shelving
Proposed Shelving
Adult Non-fiction
Adult Large Print
Adult Hardback Fiction                                           
Adult Paperback Fiction
Adult Magazines
Adult DVDs
Adult Audiobooks
Adult Music CDs

Teen Hardback Fiction &
Teen Paperback Fiction

Children Non-fiction
Children Paperback Fiction
Children Hardback Fiction
Children Picture Books
Children Audiobooks
Children DVDs
Children Magazines
Children Music CDs                  


Adult Non-fiction includes: Self-help, Religion, Personal Finance, Law, Languages, Science, Math, Health, Gardening, Pet Care, Home Improvement, True Crime, Career Guides, Test Prep, Computers, Cooking, Crafts, Art, Sports, Literature, Poetry, History, Local History, Biographies,

1 comment:

  1. Tacony is not alone...there are three other 21st Century libraries where similar plans have been created--Lillian Marrero, Logan and Lovett.