FAQ

Based off of the 2013 community-based strategic plan, APL 150, 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.

• 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 69 public access computers and limited options for expansion.
• Limitations of the current facility do not allow for the volume and types of meeting space that a modern library requires.
• Patron parking spaces are often blocked by delivery vehicles due to inadequate space for loading and unloading library materials.
• The costs of changing library spaces are considerably higher because of the inflexible infrastructure.

Historical Growth 1981 2013
Volumes 168,365 342,849
Public Computers 0 69
Meeting Room Use Per Year 110 4,183
Annual Circulation 593,123 1,448,958
Average Visitors Per Day 600 1,600

Based on data from 2009, collection sizes were expected to increase, causing the square footage to increase. However, collection sizes now are actually slightly less than they were in 2008 because of the refinement and improvement of the quality of the collection. Collection sizes are expected to decrease slightly in the next 20 years, especially in non-fiction and reference due to the augmented use of technology, but circulation rates of fiction and children’s materials are expected to remain high.

The 2009 plan also featured a technology commons, which at the time was a trend in public library service. Now technology has become completely decentralized and available throughout the building. 

Though this is a new study, the work completed is based off of the 2008 and 2009 studies. All recommendations from the 2008 study have been achieved. The 2009 study became the foundation for the 2014 study. By refining the valuable information from the 2009 study, rather than starting from scratch, we were also able to save money.

cost projection matrix has been created for the five sites originally under review by the Appleton Public Library. The cost projection matrix includes 11 categories with associated costs. Also included in the matrix are costs for an additional Parks and Recreation space. Costs for the Parks and Recreation space is presented separately from costs for library space.

The total cost for the proposed site and new library facility at Trinity Lutheran Church and Fox Banquets is estimated at just under $37 million. A remodel and expansion of the current library site and facility is estimated at just over $32 million, while the other three sites were estimated right around $37 million.

The $37 million dollars would not be solely funded by taxpayer dollars. A percentage of the estimated building cost would have to be funded by private donations solicited by the Friends of Appleton Public Library. The Friends will be conducting a feasibility study this summer to determine the amount of private dollars that can be raised in the Appleton area.

The City of Appleton has put placeholder figures into the budget to help fund the library project through 2017. Other funding would be completed through private donations.

Branches are expensive to operate and Appleton is not big enough for this to be cost effective. The convenience comes at a higher cost of multiple buildings to heat and cool, duplicated staff functions, extra equipment, additional copies of materials, transportation costs and more.

The City of Appleton plans for parking are tied directly to the Appleton Public Library plans for a remodeled or new facility. The City of Appleton will be completing a parking needs assessment once the Library Board of Trustees makes a final decision on a remodeled facility or new site at the April 15 Board Meeting. The parking needs assessment will determine where, and how much parking will be needed in the downtown area.

2008: Building & Services Study
     All recommendations that could be accomplished in the existing facility from this study have been completed.

2009: Program Design Study
    
The 2009 Program Design Study is the foundation of the 2014 study.

2012 - 2013: Community-Based Planning
    
The library completed extensive community-based planning, including:
          • A total of 20 Community Conversations, where we invited you to talk about your hopes and dreams for 
             the future of Appleton.
          • Two public presentations by experts in the fields of urban planning and visioning.
          • Staff member presentations about the future of library services.
          • A ten-member Community Advisory Committee, which helped build the vision and strategies for the
             library.

January - March 2014: Program Design Study
    
The library hired Engberg Anderson to complete a detailed facility program for the library that would meet the  
     defined goals of the 2013 community-based strategic plan, APL 150.

April 2014: Library Board Recommendation
    
Based on the preliminary planning assessment completed by Engberg Anderson, the Library Board of Trustees
     will vote on a recommendation for a remodeled or new site. 

Summer 2014: Friends of APL Feasibility Study
    
The Friends of APL will be looking at the level of private financial support available in our community to support a
     remodeled or new facility.

Fall 2014: Appleton City Council Budget Process
    
The Appleton City Council will vote on public funding levels for the new or remodeled library.

A public library is a unique space. The Appleton Public Library as both a space and institution, is very different compared to other libraries in Appleton - Lawrence University, Appleton Area School District, Fox Valley Technical College, UW-Fox Valley. For example, Lawrence University is generous in that they allow the public to use their facility in a limited way, but as a private university are under no obligation to do so, and their collection is geared toward the academic curriculum they provide as a liberal arts institution. The same situation goes for the other higher education institutions mentioned above.

Not only do the library collections and user needs vary greatly between public libraries and academic libraries, security also presents an issue. With today’s security standards for academic institutions, especially Appleton Area School District schools, it would not be acceptable to let the general public wander in and out of the buildings. The Appleton Public Library is a place where the community can come in anytime they want and use the facilities with no questions asked.

Proximity to the transit center was a high priority in the selection of sites and in some cases was the very reason that some sites fell out of eligibility in the first round of site review. Having a site too far away from the transit center would create too much of a burden on getting to the library for those that use it as their primary means of transportation.

The Trinity-Fox Banquets site is 3/10 of a mile from the transit center by foot. This was measured using existing sidewalks (not “as the crow flies”) in order to make it the most inclusive measurement possible. There is also a bus stop adjacent to the property. Listed below are other libraries and their proximity to their transit center.  

Eau Claire = .2 miles from Transit Center
APL Proposed site = .3 miles from Transit Center
La Crosse = .5 miles from Transit Center
Green Bay = .6 miles from Transit Center
Milwaukee (Central Library) = 1.2 miles from Downtown Transit Center
Madison (Central Library) = 2.8 miles from nearest transfer point (South Transfer Point)

Discussions with Valley Transit have been, and will remain a priority and we are committed to working to making the site the safest and most accessible location it can possibly be.

The proposed site was selected after months of research and test layouts. A decision matrix was created for the site evaluations. This matrix included 15 categories of criteria and was structured to not allow one criterion alone to impact the final result.

Inspecting the decision matrix for site evaluations should give you a sense of the depth of evaluation we used when making a final site recommendation.

Every site required consideration for access and parking. There is no site proposal that assumes that the library could just be inserted in that location without any modification.

Dealing with the entire downtown parking issue is the next step for the City of Appleton and a request for proposal for this study is being finalized. The Department of Public Works has explored options for re-routing Lawrence Street because this has been an issue for the YMCA for years.

With the library in the proposed future location, we can help solve some long-standing issues because traffic and parking solutions would serve to benefit all the neighbors in that area and serve as an anchor for developing a neighborhood that begins to bridge downtown with the riverfront.

There is no funding in this year’s budget for site acquisition, so we will have the time to work with the property owners to create the best solution for all concerned. While the statutory process is called eminent domain, we have no interest in forcible transfer of property.

Appleton Public Library was contacted last year by the attorney representing Fox Banquets to see if we wanted to explore leasing or purchasing their site. We weren’t ready at the time because we were working on our community-based long-range services plan. Now we are optimistic that this can be a process that benefits the entire community as well as the direct stakeholders.