The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has just unveiled plans for a massive new $100 million, 115,000 SqFt, 6-story main branch in Uptown Charlotte.
The detailed plans include 5 levels above ground and 1 below, with 2 outdoor terraces, a vendor-operated café, 2 immersive theaters, additional flex space and meeting rooms, and significantly upgraded collections spread throughout the building.
“The new main library will be an architecturally-distinctive, state-of-the-art, technologically advanced knowledge center and public commons, where everyone in our community can access the resources of a 21st century library, use them to learn and grow to the best version of ourselves, connect with others and participate in the public life of our community. This will be the gateway to a re-imagined North Tryon street corridor, and a catalyst for additional re-development to be announced surrounding our block,” says Lee Keesler, CEO of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. “The new Main Library helps further our mission to improve lives and build a stronger community by strengthening public engagement, supporting economic opportunity and connecting community resources.”
The new Main Library project will be a public-private partnership. Mecklenburg County has committed $65 million for the construction of new Main Library, and the associated build-out of an offsite support services center that will house non-customer facing activities currently located at the existing Main Library. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation’s CommonSpark campaign will raise $50 million for the new Main Library, plus an additional $20 million for library system needs. Total public and private funding for the project is $135 million.
Each level will be designed with a specific thematic focus:
- Lower Level: houses a pre-function and event space
- Level 1: includes the two main entrances as well as a café entrance, lobby, café, immersive theater area, reading zones, and self-service checkpoints
- Level 2: features the welcome and orientation center for new and recent Mecklenburg residents, with a job training center and counseling services space, along with the core technology and makerspace offerings, including a technology center, computer lab, digital visualization lab, and recording studios. There is also an outdoor terrace which offers views up and down Tryon Street and connects to the street life below
- Level 3: houses the bulk of the collections and offers soft seating for reading and research overlooking Tryon and 6th streets, along with staff space
- Level 4: showcases the revamped Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, and features the library’s special collections and an immersive theater and staff space
- Level 5: houses the spacious destination reading room, a writer’s studio and porch, and an outdoor terrace which serves as a reading, programming and meeting space with a unique view of Uptown Charlotte, along with administrative offices.
The Library now plans on breaking ground on the new building in early 2021 and is scheduled for completion and opening sometime in early 2024.