@ Shaker Library
“The plan calls for reimagining and repurposing the
space,” says Library Director Amy Switzer. “Changes
will be made on how space is used on every floor
without increasing the size of the building.”
All of the work will be completed without
increasing the footprint of the building – the
former Moreland School, built in 1922. The
building was renovated by the Library in 1993
with partial renovations in 1998 and in 2011.
In the first six months of last year, the Library
Board selected Bialosky Cleveland as the architect,
citing the firm’s significant in-house mechanical,
electrical, and plumbing expertise, and hired RFC
Contracting to serve as Owner’s Rep and liaison
between Bialosky and contractors. Founded
by Roger Riachi, RFC has extensive experience
providing services to public projects, including
other public libraries.
Bialosky’s design team studied how the
Library uses its current space, toured the building,
interviewed department managers, and analyzed
responses to a community survey. The information
was used to identify how the Library could
better serve the community by changes in space
allocation and function.
There was clear consensus that the building
poses challenges for both staff and visitors. The
plan is to maximize flexibility by creating spaces
that can accommodate multiple uses. Mobile
furniture and technology will enable staff and
visitors to alter spaces and adapt them for a
variety of needs. Architects began to outline
spaces and make recommendations.
In August, the Library and architects held
three open houses seeking community feedback
on what Library spaces they value most.
Residents from every Shaker neighborhood
participated, with most citing the importance
of the Library’s role in research and lifelong
learning, early literacy and children’s education,
recreational and leisure reading, and for
providing a public space for meetings. The areas
valued most were a children’s space, computer
section, the collection, and quiet areas.
The challenge for the
design team – all of
whom live in Shaker
– is balancing form
with function within an
existing footprint. For
updates on their efforts
and the construction
progress, visit the
In a clever “common threads” activity at the open houses, residents
were asked to loop yarn around the top three words or phrases that best
answer where they do their best thinking, how they use the Library
most, and what kinds of spaces are important to them. The three most
selected answers – the common threads – were a place to meet friends and
neighbors, quiet study areas, and meeting rooms.
Construction is expected to begin in the summer and is projected
to take 14 months to complete. Turner Construction Company has been
awarded the construction contract for its extensive experience with public
library projects and renovating historic buildings.
The Library will remain open throughout construction, although the
second floor will be closed and meeting rooms will not be available. The hours
of operation in both buildings will not change. Some material will be placed in
storage, but staff will work with other libraries to get what customers need.
As they enter the next phase of the project, the Library Board and
architects will use all the research, including the community feedback, as
a road map to inform the design, which the Library Board will then share
with the community.
The Library has been busy working to renovate and enhance its Main building.
The project will create flexible spaces that can be reconfigured for different needs,
relocate most services to the first floor, address the maintenance needs of a new roof
and HVAC system, and maximize accessibility.
18 WINTER 2020 | WWW.SHAKER .LIFE