When the board of trustees of the Boise Public Library system gathers this coming Wednesday, June 4, they'll be briefed on what may become the most ambitious project in the library's history: accommodating the city's growth and the library's ever-growing popularity.
On May 7, Boise Weekly first reported on a presentation from Architectural Nexus that included five possible options for the main branch of the Boise library:
Option 1: Only renovate the existing space, scaling back a loading dock and greatly reducing the size of the book collection. There would be no growth potential, but there would be a "somewhat better building for users."
Option 2: Renovate and expand, again with removals and a reduction of the collection. There would be enough space to meet the approximate needs for 10 years.
Option 3: A total renovation with some collection reductions, meant to meet the needs for 15 years.
Option 4: Add so-called "high density" shelving and storage, allowing the collections to grow, meeting the needs for the next 20 years.
Option 5: Construction of an all new building, meeting the needs for the next 20 years, but using less total space due to efficiencies (Option 5 would also allow the existing library building to be re-used for possible apartments, condos or retail space. The new library would be able to be constructed on existing library space).
Teams from Architectural Nexus returned to Boise on May 27 to visit with library staff regarding concept and program options.
But the big question regarding possible costs associated with each of the options is expected to surface sometime in mid-July. The library board of trustees has also expressed a desire to hold a joint meeting with the Boise City Council regarding the project.
Meanwhile, library administration has also been meeting with Boise's Trout Architects about a possible project which could result in an additional entrance to the main library at Eighth and River streets. A possible new entrance might include a new book store for Friends of the Library, an Internet cafe and a so-called "maker space." But again, such a concept is still in the conversation stage.