Thank you, Astoria!
In November 2022, Astoria voters approved an $8 million bond measure for a full renovation of the library.
The Astoria Public Library will be renovated and expand into the basement, resulting in 18,000 square feet of space, while keeping the historic Ebba Wicks Brown mid-century building intact.
- 100% accessible buiding
- Expanded children’s space
- Dedicated teen space
- Updated technology
- Updated systems (electricity, plumbing, HVAC, roof)
In Summer 2023, we will begin a community outreach process to review the 2018 concept plan for the renovation. This process will allow us to fine-tune the plans and ensure that it meets our current goals and priorities. The work will be done with the help of the Astoria Public Library Renovation Ad Hoc Committee.
Building Project History
For many years, the City Council
has declared a goal to create a 21st-century library in Astoria, either through new construction or renovation of the existing building. The current library building opened in 1967 and has not been significantly updated since. The building is aging and requires basic improvements to the plumbing, electrical, lighting, and heating/cooling systems. Additionally, the roof, which has been patched over the years, needs to be replaced and the flooring should be renewed.
In 2013, the Council engaged the services of library consultant Ruth Metz to conduct a needs assessment study. The study, which received input from several hundred Astoria residents, identified the following priorities:
- More space dedicated to children, providing a place to engage in activities that develop language and literacy skills
- Dedicated zones for children and teens, plus small and large meeting room spaces
- Updated technology
- More natural light
- Spaces and activities that bring people together.
In 2016 the Council voted 3-2 against building a new library in Heritage Square as part of a mixed-use project, citing cost concerns. The Council next looked at expanding into the old Waldorf Hotel, which shares a wall with the library. Preservationists spoke against the proposal and the Council decided not to move forward with this course of action.
In 2017, the City contracted with David Wark, principal architect with Hennebery Eddy, to create conceptual plans for renovating the existing library building, using the Metz study as a starting point. He presented his plans to the Council in July 2018. The plans shed new light on all of the possibilities and community programming that could be accomplished through a thoughtful renovation of the existing building. Especially attractive was the possibility of opening the buildings lower level and almost doubling the library’s public space.
In January 2022, the Council voted to make a final decision on the library by the end of the year. Depending on polling, the Council either would ask voters to consider approval of a bond measure for a full renovation, or would use cash on hand to remove the mezzanine and, to the extent possible, address basic items of deferred maintenance.
Based on positive polling results, the Council, on June 20, 2022, voted to submit to the electors of the City the question of authorizing up to $8 million of General Obligation bonds to renovate the Astoria Public Library. The bond measure appeared on the November 2022 ballot and was overwhelmingly approved by nearly 70%.
July 2018 Conceptual Plans