New library offers a one-stop shop for what society is craving: hands-on learning

Beyond lending books and DVDs, the Elkridge (Md.) branch library loans household tools like ladders, wheelbarrows, and sewing machines.

June 01, 2018 |
New library offers a one-stop shop for what society is craving: hands-on learning

Photo: Howard County Library System/Geoffrey S. Baker

The $33.1 million, 35,000-sf Elkridge (Md.) branch library, which opened March 10, replaced a library half its size that was built in 1993. The bigger facility is needed for a market whose population is projected to grow by 40% to 38,000 by 2030. 

Beyond lending books and DVDs, the library’s DIY Education Center lends household tools like ladders, tape measures, sanders, wheelbarrows, and sewing machines, for free (with a $1 per day late-returning charge). The building also has a 10,000-sf senior center, with its own entrance, where patrons 50 years or older can avail themselves of programs for fitness, wellness, nutrition, and technology education.

“It’s kind of a one-stop shop, and it’s offering what society is craving: hands-on learning,” observes Melanie Hennigan, AIA, President of Grimm + Parker Architects, which designed this building. 

 

Photo: Grimm + Parker Architects

 

The building is located parallel to Route 1, and interior lighting that shines through its windows makes this library highly visible during evening hours. Being next to a residential neighborhood, the library reinforces its connection to the community via walking trails and walkways that cross over nearby wetlands, says Hennigan. 

The Building Team on this project included: Grimm + Parker Architects (design architect), Howard County Dept. of Public Works, Howard County Library System, Howard County Office of Aging and Independence (owners reps), Costello Construction (GC), Pennoni Associates (CE), Columbia Engineering (SE), Gipe Associates (MEP), Bradley Site Design (landscape architect), Sustainable Design Consulting (LEED consultant).

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