Renovation To Put White Plains Library On The Edge

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The Edge is part of the first phase of the White Plains Library's three-phase renovation, and is designed for teens to both experience and create digital media. Photo Credit: Contributed
The bookstore cafe expands the current bookstore at the White Plains Library and adds a coffee shop. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A three-year, $2.8 million renovation of the White Plains Public Library’s first floor will begin in early 2013, modernizing it to accommodate today’s library user, said Brian Kenney, director of the library.

The library will remain open throughout the three-phase project, which begins with the creation of “The Edge,” a soundproof space in the southwest corner of the first floor designed for, and in part by, teens.

“We know that if we build this library for teens, we’re going to see the same type of usage,” said Kenney, who added the library created a steering committee of teens to contribute to the planning process. “The key thing for The Edge is teens don’t have a place in this library to go. Once you hit 12, you don’t go to the Trove anymore.”

When the first phase of work is done, teens will have their own space, which is divided into three sections: a social area with a big-screen television for gaming and movies; a mixing area with computer workstations and study areas; and a media lab for teens to learn how to use digital media equipment and work on projects.

“It’s a place for kids to come together and experience digital media, but also create it,” Kenney said of the 3,000-square-foot media lab. “As a library we should be sure were creating experiences that will attract our users. And teens, we know, are interested in digital content.”

While teens hold workshops on video editing, website and video game design in their new space, adults can enjoy the Reader’s Walk, a lounge area designed to give them a quiet, comfortable place to sit and work.

“Adults are looking for a third place, someplace that isn’t home, isn’t work, but is a place in the community they can be,” Kenney said.

The second phase of the project includes the creation of the Learning Commons for adults, which will provide reference services, one-on-one tutoring, formal and informal instruction, and one long table with outlets for people to plug in their devices. It is designed to offer assistance in using technology, career and job searches, and small-business development.

The final phase includes the creation of the Friends Bookstore and Café in the southeast corner of the library. People will be able to order coffee and browse the library bookstore.

The library entrance will also change. The checkout desk will remain where it is, but will be used more as a help desk as the library moves toward more self-checkout kiosks. The library also will introduce wireless printing and scanning.

“People are working differently today, and libraries need to reflect that,” Kenney said. “To do that we’ve got to be able to change to accommodate people’s work styles today. It’s not just about warehousing material, it’s about creating a place where people come to do activities.”

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