Building Project FAQ

General Library Questions

Why do we need an updated library facility?
The library serves everyone and is a key part of Appleton’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Based on the City of Appleton and Appleton Public Library strategic plans, the current facility does not meet the needs of the community. As the library strives to fulfill its mission and vision, the facility is falling behind on standards for contemporary urban libraries. More information on prior studies related to the building project can be found here.

What is wrong with the current facility?
The building is 40 years old and was designed for different uses than the community needs today. 

  • Safety and security are issues in the current building that can be addressed by innovations in library building design.
  • The current facility did not have any computers when it was built. We currently have 61 public computers and limited options and space for expansion.
  • Limitations of the current facility do not allow for the volume and type of meeting and programming space users request.
  • Inflexible infrastructure makes changing library spaces difficult and costly.
  • The children’s and teen areas are outdated and inadequate for the populations they serve.
  • Staff spaces impede workflows and productivity.


Questions About the Project

What is the project timeline?
The City of Appleton is currently seeking Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from architects. After staff review the RFPs, a recommendation will be made to the library board and common council. If approved design work would begin mid-2021. Following this timeline, construction would begin in 2022.

How does the RFP process work?
The RFP process is performed to ensure transparency while selecting an architect. The architect chosen needs to demonstrate that they are the best firm to design our library. The City of Appleton team will look at experience, project understanding, skills and abilities of the team the architects assembled including any sub-consultants, ability to engage with the public for feedback, demonstration of their ability to work as an overall team with staff and the construction team and other factors. Each City of Appleton team member will score the submitted RFPs. These scores are combined to select the architect with the most points. A consensus must be reached on whom to hire. It is important to note that the focus is on their abilities to meet our needs.

What size will the new or remodeled facility be?

Recent studies show that the library should be approximately 120,000 square feet. It is currently 86,600.

Will the building be environmentally friendly?
Yes. During design, various approaches will be reviewed to reduce the carbon footprint of the building. In addition, it is important that initiatives are taken to minimize operations costs.

How will the library function during construction?
This is TBD.


Questions About the Location

Is the transit center going to stay where it is?
Most likely. Convenient access to Valley Transit has always been an important element of library planning as many individuals rely on public transportation to access the library.

Is the neighborhood safe?
Investing in the library in conjunction with a thorough neighborhood redevelopment is an important goal of this project. Moving forward on the library project on the current site will provide a vibrant anchor to begin to revitalize the neighborhood.

Have you considered branch libraries?
We are focusing on a single library in the central downtown area after analysis regarding the viability of a branch system. A single-site library is more cost-effective in that branches require duplication of infrastructure and delivery systems that would drive up the capital and long-term operational expenses.

Have you thought of other sites?
This process will focus on a project at the site of the existing library. This option will help address some of the affordability concerns of previous concepts and does not require the city to significantly redesign supporting infrastructure, including transit routes, to serve the library.


Questions About the Cost

What will a new or remodeled facility cost?
This is TBD. Determining cost is an important part of the next phase.

How will a new or remodeled facility be paid for?
The facility is expected to be funded in the same manner as other city capital projects. The city will pursue any outside sources of funding when feasible including grants, philanthropic support and additional funding streams.


Questions About Parking

Where will library patrons park?
The planning process will ensure that the project incorporates adequate and accessible parking for library patrons. This includes looking at on-site parking and maximizing the use of the Yellow Ramp. It is likely the project will include design changes to make it easier for patrons to park in the ramp if they’re able to.  


Last Updated: 1/4/21