Renovation Plans

Renovation News at UCPL

October 2020 update:

While COVID-19 has definitely impacted renovation plans for the Library, we're still moving forward with what projects we can. Over the summer, UCPL staff members emptied out a section of the basement, moving the storage books into the auditorium and second floor staff room, to make way for compact shelving, which will be installed in the basement later this fall. The image below shows a rendering of the compact shelving, which has movable shelves allowing for up to 43,000 books to be stored in that area.



Additionally, Library administrators will be moving forward with replacing our problematic doors. Library administration had also planned on tackling the first floor public restrooms in the first phase of renovation. However, additional consultation with our architect and contractors revealed that to be a much more complicated endeavor, involving replacing electrical panels and plumbing, which would put much of the building out of commission. The public restrooms remain a priority though, and we are continuing to work with them on potential solutions to this problem.

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Renovation Plans

What professional assistance has the library obtained to develop the renovation plan?
Library administrators are working with Bond Architects, who have presented a preliminary renovation plan. We are currently working to incorporate modification suggestions made by the City of University City into Bond's plan. Cost estimates will be included in the final plan.

When will work begin?
Our initial plan was to finish working up a renovation plan in 2019 and put out a request for proposals for construction companies in early 2020. As 2020 began, we ran into a few unforseen complexities during conversations with the city that we were trying to iron out, planning instead for a fall 2020 start date.

However, as with so many other things scheduled to take place in 2020, COVID-19  delayed our renovation dates. The March 2020 shutdown, as well as the fluctuating economy, have further delayed the renovation project. We are currently talking to Bond Architects about our priorities and to our financial advisors to discuss options for phased construction. Highest on our list of priorities are renovating the public bathrooms, fixing our often-malfunctioning doors, and installing compact shelving in our basement. However, as we've seen over the past several months, things can always change. We thank you for your patience with this project, and we hope to provide additional updates soon.

What renovations will be completed?
Update bathrooms for ADA and code compliance
Replace heating and air conditioning systems to increase energy efficiency
Update & upgrade lighting
Remove or abate hazardous materials
Replace plumbing systems
Install new electrical distribution
Tuck-point exterior walls
Replace and re-seal windows
Replace carpeting throughout the Library
Update telephone, voice & data, and alarm systems

Check out the videos below to see a tour of what else will be included!



Will the Library be closed during renovation?
We had hoped to be able to keep part of the building open during construction (and we are still open to doing so if the architects and engineers say it's safe), but it seems unlikely at this point. We are currently looking at options for storing Library materials off-site, as well as continuing to serve the public from another University City location during construction. No matter what, UCPL patrons will still be able to get their items and participate in Library programs during construction!

How will the renovation help fix the overcrowding problems in the University City Public Library building?
A renovation would include reconfiguring the basement level and repurposing underutilized spaces, including installing compact shelving. This type of shelving will allow us to better utilize storage space in the basement and allow us to keep more library materials on hand. The renovation would also include a redesign of the interior space and appointments, allowing for better service to the public and improved efficiency of staff.

Will parking spaces be added?
No land will be purchased with proceeds from the tax increase. However, reconfiguration of the parking lot has the potential to add a few parking spaces and the parking lot will be re-graded to make the entrance ADA compliant.

Will the exterior of the building be changed?
No exterior changes are planned. Any exterior changes would require approval of the University City Historic Preservation Commission. That said, the renovation will involve fixing some exterior elements, including tuck-pointing of the brick and repairing cracks in the foundation. The majority of the funds will be spent to renovate and improve the interior space.

Will the public have a chance to weigh in on the building renovations?
Absolutely! The Library will host several open meetings at which members of the public will be invited to offer their opinions on renovations. Keep an eye on this page, on our Facebook page, and on Checkout, our monthly newsletter, for more information on when these meetings will be happening.

With people using laptops, smart phones, and computers at home, why does the Library need so many computers?
Some patrons have no computer; some have no Internet access; others utilize the UCPL computers for high-speed access. Many companies as well as the State of Missouri require job applications be filled out online. The 28 public access computers at UCPL are available for people who need Internet, printing, and software that is available at the Library. As a community service, the Library also offers free computer classes to those who wish to learn skills or learn additional skills.

Why does the library use so much space for things other than books?
The University City Public Library is dedicated to providing lifelong learning and entertainment opportunities for its patrons. This means providing a wide range of educational and entertaining items, including DVDs, computers, audiobooks, music CDs, video cameras, and telescopes, as well as books. Additionally, the Library is a community center, with many meetings taking place in our auditorium and meeting rooms.

What is Proposition L?
Proposition L is a ballot measure that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters of University City on April 2, 2019. This proposition asked the voters of the University City Public Library District for an increase of twelve cents ($0.12) per $100 of assessed valuation over the previous property tax levy for the purposes of renovating, improving, operating, and maintaining University City Public Library facilities, and for improving Library services. This increase is being spent on building renovations and maintenance, as well as supporting existing and future Library services.

What is the size of the collection at the University City Public Library?
As of December 2019 the University City Public Library collection has more than 270,000 items, including books, audio books, music CDs, DVDs, and magazines.

How many items are checked out of the University City Public Library?
In fiscal year 2018 (July 2017 through June 2018), the total circulation of library materials, including downloadable e-books and audiobooks, was 371,658, an increase of 3.4% over the previous year. This recent circulation represents an increase of 37% since 1990, the last time voters approved a tax increase.

How many people use the University City Public Library?
Over 192,000 people visited University City Public Library during fiscal year 2018, and there were another 427,732 virtual visits to the UCPL website and online catalog. The Library has more than 42,000 registered users, a number that does not include cardholders from the other member libraries of the Municipal Library Consortium. The Library’s public access computers were used 41,640 times; there were 48,632 wireless internet sessions; and the auditorium and small meeting rooms were used 2,464 times during fiscal year 2018.

Files related to the renovation

These public files are available for download. Please check back for updates as the project moves forward.

This information was prepared by the University City Public Library.