New Library Serves Growing Population
Farnsworth Group was retained by the Peoria Public Library to complete a comprehensive renovation and expansion of their entire network of facilities citywide after passage of a capital campaign referendum. This $28 million program encompassed five facilities, including this new North Branch Library to accommodate population growth and development.
Prior to design, Farnsworth Group investigated potential greenfield sites and existing buildings to house a new North Branch library. The study included researching existing structures for adaptive reuse along with greenfield site options for new construction. Evaluations centered around location, public visibility, and types of surrounding development. Numerous public input sessions, close coordination with City of Peoria officials, and opinions of probable costs for each option were also part of the scope.
Library features and elements include extensive areas for youth and adults in both the fiction and non-fiction categories; a unique story-time rotunda with a special environment for youth learning and activities; a 1,600 SF public meeting room, with several smaller gathering venues; and a vibrant garden seating area with water feature. Also included are a bookmobile garage and outreach collection room, as well as numerous ancillary support spaces for off-site library services.
Toward the end of construction, the children’s rotunda was transformed into a beehive-themed area, with bee sculptures commissioned by both a Chicago artist and a Paris, France artist. A demonstration beehive was also added with a link to the outside so that the bees could feast on the prairie landscape that surrounds the Library.