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High Plains Library District - Erie Community Library

The Colorado Association of Libraries honored its 2008 Library Design Award High Plains Library District – Erie Community Library which opened in early 2008.

The CAL award recognizes an architect or architectural firm for the design of a new or remodeled academic, special, public, or school library. The library designs were evaluated in terms of their ability to meet the needs of diverse populations, support a wide variety of activities, and incorporate the latest technology, as well as their aesthetic value and environmental performance.

The exterior of the $4.8 million, 19,900-square-foot High Plains Library District – Erie Community Library is constructed of stucco and brick, with a dramatic entry canopy of metal and heavy timber detailing. The exterior window fenestration is intended to delineate functions within the building and to maximize the number of areas to receive indirect daylight, with sunshades added along the south windows to control solar heat gain. There are also patio and peace garden areas outside.

In addition to this, the building is organized around a linear spine that stretches from the west entrance to the east, making it possible for the library to be split into areas dedicated to adult collections, children’s activities, teen areas, media rooms, and staff and support areas.

With clerestory windows leading to the adult collection area, the spine element also functions as a focal point for entry and daylighting. Additional highlights include a 1,000-square-foot living room equipped with a fireplace.

The library was designed and built to achieve the Silver level LEED rating based on the LEED for New Construction Version 2.2 standards of the US Green Building Council. Sustainable features are centered on underfloor air distribution mechanical systems and electrical and water-saving systems that will perform at least 15 percent better than non-LEED buildings.

High Plains Library District – Erie Community Library is among the most highly appraised places in Erie, Colorado across the ‘Places of cultural interest’ lineup of Nicelocal. It received 26 scores from users on this website, with an average of 4.7. 

As of January 2019, the High Plains Library District – Erie Community Library has been working on expanding to serve the growing Erie, Colorado community. This project is expected to be completed in the last week of September 2020.

The expansion will feature several new features to benefit the community, including four new study rooms and two large meeting rooms which can be opened up to accommodate more people. In addition, the project includes a new children’s area with a much larger area for storytimes, a larger teen area, as well as a maker space. 

Library manager Joanna McNeal explains the many tools that will be found in the maker space. She said they are going to have a maker space that will have a laser cutter, 3D printer, possibly some sewing machines, and a variety of other things for people to use to do crafts. The new event spaces being added will also change how programming is being done. 

Before they were limited to just one meeting room. So if the teens were having a program, then the children could not have a program. If the adults were having a program then they were the only ones having a program. Now instead of a single space, they will have three pretty good spaces to use.

The staff is not the only ones looking forward to the completion of the expansion. Some patrons have known about the expansion for quite some time and are excited to see it completed. 

Although the exterior of the library will need some more work, the interior will be finished by the last week of September. So when the time comes, bring yourself and check out the newly improved High Plains Library District – Erie Community Library.

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