What should new Geneva library have?

  • The current Geneva Public Library. Community workshops are being conducted to plan the new library.

    The current Geneva Public Library. Community workshops are being conducted to plan the new library. Daily Herald file photo/2008

Updated 6/9/2017 5:16 PM

What do Genevans want in their new library?

Several dozen people gave their opinions Wednesday, at the first of three workshops about the new place, to be built at 210 S. Sixth St.


It should "exude culture," according to one woman. A young man said it should showcase the history of the town. Another wants a dedicated space for the Friends of the Library to conduct a monthly used-book sale, much like counterparts at the Batavia Public Library do.

Lots of natural light, atriums, space for events such as lectures, and keep a playground on site, were suggested.

And it has to fit the style of downtown Geneva.

"Geneva is very connected with its history, and with its architecture, some of which goes back to the 1850s, and this building of course is going to be in the Geneva historic district," said Colin Campbell, who lives about a block away from the site.

"But at the same time, this is 2017, and you can't really recreate history. But something in the area of paying homage to what Geneva has been and where it has come, in a new building."

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The workshop was led by architects from Studio GC, the firm the library has hired to plan the new building.

In April, voters gave the library district permission to borrow $21.5 million to construct and equip a new library. The district used about $2 million in savings to buy the site and knock down a school that was on it.

The current library opened in 1908, and has been enlarged three times. It is landlocked.

Board President Bob Shiffler reminded the crowd, at the outset of the meeting, to keep the future in mind.

"We're not designing this library for the year 2019. In all likelihood this building will still be in use as we approach the end of the century in the 2090s," he said, drawing a few chuckles.

"At that point in time, it will be a historic structure because of its age regardless of what form it takes at this point," he said.

The next workshop is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the library, 127 W. James St. It will discuss general design considerations for a library, including site and building access, how the exterior will be influenced by the interior layout, and the scale, proportion and materials for the exterior design.

The third workshop, at 7 p.m. July 19, will focus on design elements, materials and colors.

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