Library construction spending remains steady

January 07, 2003 |

Despite the slow economy, library construction spending continues to remain healthy, according to a recent report by Library Journal, a sister publication of Building Design & Construction.

Between July 1, 2001 and June 30, 2002, more than $788.4 million was spent by governments (local, state, and federal) and academic institutions on library construction work, the highest level in six years. Last year, 212 public library projects — including 101 new buildings and the 111 addition/renovations — were completed, representing nearly 4.5 million sq. ft. of construction put in place.

Though library construction spending remains steady, the number of projects ties the third lowest count in 14 years. Only fiscal year 1998 and fiscal year 1999 had fewer total projects, with 197 and 195, respectively. The completion of several huge libraries is one main reason for the discrepancy between construction dollars and number of projects. Such massive projects include the new $65.3 million, 330,000-sq.-ft. Memphis (Tenn.) & Shelby County Public Library and the $47 million, 89,000-sq.-ft. Cerritos (Calif.) Library.

Funding for the 212 projects came predominantly from local governments, to the tune of $675.5 million, which represented 87% of total funding. Running a very distant second were charitable contributions/gift funds at $60 million, or 8%. Funding from federal and state coffers totaled 5%.

For more on the report, visit

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