Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Say, How Big *IS* that Library?

By Michael Goldman with Deborah Marks, co-founders of Citizens for Sunnyvale Parks and Green Spaces

Deborah Marks is also leader of Sunnyvale Urban Forests Advocates

The 2007 Sunnyvale Library Bond measure asked for $108M for a new library.  The city council wanted a 116,000 square foot (SF) (or larger, if possible) library which could later be expanded to 143,500 (144K) SF per ABA's "Library of the Future Needs Assessment".

The City Council meeting transcripts relating to the size are here:
The consultant's cost of this is found here:

Sunnyvale's Public Library is 60,000 SF, Santa Clara's is 80,000 SF (40,000 on each of 2 floors), Cupertino's is 54,000 SF, Mountain View's is 60,000 SF.  A library of 143,500 SF would be the 6th largest in CA (Sunnyvale is the 38th largest in population) because all other library systems expand by building branch libraries.  That issue is partly covered here:
and here:

1.  What Does a 116,000 SF Library Look Like?

It is hard to find buildings (especially libraries) exactly 116,000 SF but a few are close.

The closest would be a relatively recent addition to the UC Santa Cruz McHenry Library.  At 118,891 SF for the addition (only 2.5% bigger than the "interim") it is hard to get closer to the "interim" size of 116,000 SF.

 One side of the 119K SF Addition - click on photo to enlarge

This looks like a long thin glass-enclosed addition, but it is really a square with glass along one side as seen below:
Click to Enlarge - Aerial View shows addition to library - click on photo to enlarge

Reverse View - Glass "front" in previous picture visible in left rear - click on photo to enlarge

Interior of addition - click on photo to enlarge
Interior of glass front of addition - click on photo to enlarge

Here is another academic building very close to the proposed 116K SF interim library.  University of San Francisco's Kalmanovitz Hall at 110K SF with a 7K SF glass addition visible on left.
110K SF Class Room Building with 7K SF glass addition - click on photo to enlarge

Closer to home we have below the Oakmead Tower at 107K SF, so about 8% smaller than the proposed interim 116K SF Sunnyvale Main Library - click on any photo to enlarge:

107K SF at 384 Santa Trinita Ave., Sunnyvale CA - click on photo to enlarge
107K SF is 92% of the 116K SF for the Interim Sunnyvale Library - click on photo to enlarge


If you want to use your imagination, using 50K SF for the Sunnyvale library interior (since that is what people see) double it (add a second floor over exactly the same footprint) to obtain effectively 100K SF or about 86% of the proposed 116K SF.

Alternatively, to imagine what the 116K SF interim library would look like, take the 2-story 80K SF Santa Clara library and add a 3rd floor.  That would be 120K SF, or 3% bigger than the interim 116K SF library.

2.  What Does a 143K SF Building Look Like?

Having looked at what size the interim building might look like, let's look at the proposed final Library of the Future at 144K SF.  Again, it is hard to get exactly the right size building but here is one at 150K SF, 4% bigger.

150K SF Watsonville Civic Building including library, city hall, county court house 

The Tampa, Florida John F. Germany Library is 144K Sq. Ft. which is about as close as you can get to ABA proposed Library of the Future:

This library is 47 years old and there is some talk of renovating it or tearing it down to build a replacement.  C.f.,

To get a sense of scale - click to enlarge
Tampa, Florida has a population of 358,000 and is the largest city in the 2.5M population Tampa Bay Metro area.  The Tampa library system has 25 libraries including the John F. Germany Library above.  Sunnyvale's population is 149,000 or 41% of Tampa's.  Sunnyvale has one library.

Or, using your imagination to get the final "needed" library of 143K, simply triple the existing Sunnyvale library - make it a 3 story building and you are at an "effective" 150K SF library.  Not everyone would agree that we need that much space.

Another way to look at it is if you doubled the size of the Santa Clara Main Library it would be 160K SF.  Lop off 10% and you are at 144K SF - almost exactly the size "needed".

Santa Clara Main Library from Above

Front of Santa Clara Main Library (SC ML) - Click to Enlarge

SC ML Side View (rt.. side of aerial view)  - Double the height to get approx. ABA Proposed Library
As I mentioned earlier a library that size would be the 6th biggest in California - a topic for this other post here:

See more 144K SF buildings at: 

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