Tulsa, Oklahoma has seen a lot of growth and renewal in the last few years. From bustling, youthful Downtown to quirky and artistic Cherry Street to family-friendly Bixby, the Tulsa metro area continues to boom. This growth extends to the Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL) as well. A renewal project has been in the works since 2011, giving the citizens of Tulsa County the excellent library services they are accustomed to from the TCCL.
In August 2011, the city of Tulsa stepped toward a renewed Central location by inviting architects to present ideas. The winning firm was selected that October and the planning phase began. Two years from the start of the plan, the original Central library building closed its doors in preparation for the building phase; in order to continue providing services, the Librarium opened nearby, an innovative solution to the public’s continued need for services in spite of the newly-begun construction.
As 2016 begins, the remodel is on track and doors will open this summer. What’s new? There are many exciting changes. An outdoor children’s garden area will host a variety of outdoor activities, possibly including storytime, hula hoop contests, and paper airplane races. A large number of study rooms for large groups and individuals will debut, along with a parking area that features energy-saving LED lighting and security call posts. Other green efforts include the Active Chilled Beams system instead of the traditional HVAC heating and cooling. You can see how TCCL will gain LEED points here.
TCCL is also joining the nationwide STEM emphasis by adding the Schusterman Learning and Creativity Center, a collaboration and makerspace where children and teens can generate ideas and create. The renewed Central location will cater to the needs of the twenty-first-century user with increased access to a variety of technology, more spaces to collaborate and create, and resources to foster youth, working adults, educators and more.
TCCL has made many improvements over the years, bettering the opportunities for the citizens of Tulsa County. Touchscreen self-checkouts, e-books and audiobooks, special teen areas with 3D printers, and iPads are just some of twenty-first-century improvement in the last few years. Yet this Central branch renewal is perhaps the greatest indication of this library system’s dedication to the needs of its users. The people of Tulsa look to their library to provide the resources they need and the information professionals, city government, and hard-working architects and builders are providing just that.
The people spoke and the Tulsa City-County Library listened. Today’s world is learner-driven, technology-based, and it belongs to the makers and creators. And those who still find solace in holding a book, turning pages, and tucking into a study carrel will find their refuge enhanced with comfortable seating, improved shelves and lighting, and more.
This is what the Central Library renewal brings. One thing that will not change, however, is the user-centric focus and the excellent customer service those who live in Tulsa County expect from their library.