On Friday, September 18, Hartford Public Library (HPL) Chief
Librarian Louise Blacock and William Large, President of the
HPL Board of Directors, officially unveiled plans for a major
renovation and expansion of the 40-year old main library building,
the city of Hartford's last major building without air-conditioning.
Large stated that plans call for the addition of a three story,
21,000 square foot "glass bridge" and a 23,000 square
foot, three story wing to be built along Arch Street. The price
tag of the project is $35 million, with $15 million already available
from a 1996 city bond issue.
Another $15 million bond package will be put before the voters
in the year 2000. The remaining $5 million will be raised by
the Library itself through a fundraising campaign that is already
According to Blalock, the project will be done in two phases:
new construction, which is expected to be completed in December,
1999, and the renovation of the existing building, which is due
for completion in July, 2001.
"This two step process will enable the library to occupy
the building during the renovation, saving millions in temporary
relocation costs. In addition to air conditioning and all new
electrical and mechanical systems, the new library building will
include, in part, a new children's library, an "electronic
commons" with computers and Internet access, a multimedia
center, a learning lab and a TV studio for use by Hartford Community
Access Television. There will also be a new parking structure
built across the Conlan-Whitehead highway on the east side of
the building," said Blalock.