Expansion and Renovation Project

Sneak Peek at the Project
Library Interiors
Above Left: Main Level; Above Right: Lower Leve

Notes from the Video

  • Soothing neutral colors throughout main level, vibrant colors on the lower level
  • More tables and chairs next to windows with outlets for charging devices
  • 10 public computers with privacy screens
  • Local History Room will be moved to main level
  • The main level conference room is three times the size of the current room
  • The lower level conference room holds 180 people
  • Children's art tiles and all memorial objects will return to the Library
  • Three arches maintained along with exposed brick wall
  • The lower level for children and teens will be zoned: infants through 5 year olds, school-aged children, and teens
  • On the lower level, many of the bookshelves and bins will be child height
  • Stadium seating on the lower level will be similar to current seating by bay windows
  • Ample stroller parking on the lower level

Latest Project News

Updates for the project as of Fall 2019.

  • The site plan was approved by the Planning Commission.
  • The Guaranteed Maximum Price development and negotiation is expected to take place in December and January.
  • In the winter of 2019, the library's collection and service staff will relocate to the existing trailers at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School - 601 S. Oak St. Parking plans will be worked out, and staff will work with the schools to minimize the impact on the school and surrounding neighborhood. Stay tuned for more details.
  • The collection at the elementary school will be limited, but will include public computers, programming like storytime and book discussion groups.
  • New e-resources have already been added to expand the library's collection, including Kanopy (30,000 documentaries, independent movies, and classic film), RBDigital (British TV shows and movies, lectures from Great Courses, independent movies, concert films and documentaries, and Spanish language entertainment), and an increase in e-audiobooks (through Overdrive and Libby)!
  • Updated designs were presented to the City Council in January 2019.
  • Construction is set for January 2020 through March 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the library closing? No, but the library will relocate to the trailers next to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School for about 12-14 months starting in the winter of 2019.  
  • Where is Thomas Jefferson Elementary School? 601 S. Oak Street - the library will be located in the trailer next to the school.  The Library will have its own entrance from Oak Street.
  • Will there be a wheelchair-accessible ramp to the new entrance? Absolutely. In the rendering it is on the left, leading up to the new main doors. It is difficult to see in the rendering, but please know that ADA accessibility it a priority for the library, and we are accommodating all visitors!
  • Will there be windows in the Youth Services area on the lower level? Yes, on two sides of the building (facing Virginia Ave. and the driveway), which will allow for a lot of natural light. This level will also be larger with the expansion toward Virginia Ave.
  • What will happen to the memorial benches, plaques, tiles, etc.? They will all find new homes at the new building!
  • What will happen to the plants and trees surrounding the library? Some will remain, and some will be reused in other City locations.

The Library Board's Recommendation

The Library Board of Trustees recommends a plan that will place the children's area on the lower level, all the adult areas on the upper level, and create a new entrance on the corner of Park Avenue and Virginia Avenue. All of that is in additional to the infrastructure upgrades and more meeting room space. View the presentation from the community meetings in August.

There are many benefits to this plan, including:

  • More Space: The children’s area will have nearly three times more space than the current area, and one-third more space than if the area remains on the upper level after the renovation. The flexibility of the lower level will also allow for zones for preschoolers, elementary kids, and teens.
  • Safety and Security: As recommended by Police Chief Gavin, separating the children and adult areas helps create a safer environment for families during man-made and natural disasters.
  • Quiet Environment: Moving kids to the lower level creates a quieter atmosphere for the adult areas. Right now, the children's area is directly above quiet study space, and lively little feet moving, stomping, and exploring above is a distraction.
  • Decor and Comfort: The lower level can be outfitted to brighten up the area and fit the needs of children including lower bookshelves, comfortable seating, and colorful decorations.
  • History Up Front: The Local History Room would become a prominent feature of the library on the upper level.Right now it is tucked away on the lower level. The Board is looking forward to creating a bigger presence for this amazing local resource.
  • Convenience: Moving the adult areas to one level is more convenient for visitors -- all materials and staff will be on one floor, not split between two floors. Visitors will enjoy finding everything they need on one floor.
  • Flexibility: The new areas will allow for more programming flexibility overall.
The rough layouts of the levels could look like the following; for a presentation of all the options the Board was considering, click here.

Why are Renovations and an Expansion Needed?

The building is aged and its systems are outdated, having been constructed in 1957 and expanded in 1968 and 1992. Also, the Library has over 27,000 registered borrowers and is expected to exceed 35,000 by 2033. The Library does not have the space to accommodate the growth trend.

The analysis in the Master Plan Addendum 2014 portrayed a building that is ADA deficient in many aspects, in need of many infrastructure repairs or replacements, lacks storage and sufficient security measures, needs larger public restrooms, a larger Local History Room, and meeting space to accommodate larger audiences.

Renovations and the proposed two story expansion of 6,600 square feet will address these issues. The entire building will be designed to attain LEED Silver certification.

Public Comments

The Library Board welcomes public input about the expansion and renovation project via email or mail to the Board of Trustees at 120 N. Virginia Ave., Falls Church, VA 22046.