library shelves 300x200 Funding is flowing to new library projects throughout the countryModern and well-run libraries have been treasured public assets for communities for decades. These unique public facilities serve many purposes – they are bastions of educational materials, home bases for creative inspiration, and repositories of equitable learning infrastructure for all citizens.

Because of their prominence and importance, hundreds of new libraries are receiving an inordinate amount of attention. New facilities are being constructed, and older libraries are being expanded, modernized, and refurbished. Funding for library projects is more abundant than ever, so it is wise for government contractors to take note. Library construction projects create opportunities of all types for services and products.

Multnomah County officials are set to launch an immense library project in Oregon. County officials announced a budget of $125 million for the East County Library project backed by funds from a bond election. Construction is slated to follow soon after the design is completed. Once built, the new library’s 95,000 square feet will rival libraries in significantly larger counties.

In North Carolina, Pender County’s Board of Commissioners will supervise a $7 million plan to build a new library. The first solicitation documents will be for bids from architecture firms to handle the design. The new library will have 14,000 square feet of interior space on 9.5 acres of land, and construction is slated to begin later in 2022.

The city of St. Paul, Minnesota, has allocated $8.2 million for library renovations. The work will focus on modernizing and refurbishing the city’s Hamline Midway Library. This project will require demolition of the existing structure. Initial design work has been completed, and construction should begin later in 2022.

New libraries will soon cover the length of Wisconsin’s geography. The city of Appleton is in the planning stage for a library that has a projected cost of $26.4 million for design and engineering services. City officials recently requested bids from architectural firms for the design work on the planned 120,000-square-foot library. Architectural work will begin in 2022 with construction slated for 2023.

City officials in Madison, Wisconsin, have selected a concept for a new library in the Reindahl Park neighborhood. The city’s engineers have completed a preliminary design for the library, and a budget of $16.1 million has been announced. Officials say that construction will begin in 2023 with an opening scheduled for 2024.

Another of Wisconsin’s notable library projects can be found in the city of Sun Prairie. In December, the Sun Prairie Public Library Board approved the conceptual design for an expanded and renovated library. This project’s cost is anticipated to be approximately $20 million. Architectural and engineering design work will begin in 2023, and construction will begin in 2024.

Officials at Prince George’s County in Maryland have allocated $26 million for construction of a new Langley Park Branch library. The county’s Memorial Library System will build a 40,000-square-footfacility to accommodate meeting space for community organizations. County officials are securing a site for the future library. Once that task is complete, the project will advance to the planning phase. Construction will begin in 2024.

Design work will be completed in 2022 for an $8.5 million expansion project at the Ocean Beach Library in San Diego. The tentative budget may expand as the project moves forward. Initial concept planning by the San Diego Engineering and Capital Projects Department is based on an expansion of the library’s existing 5,095 square feet by 80 percent. Initial planning documents are open for public input. Once design work is completed this year, construction will begin quickly with a desired completion date as early as possible in 2023.

Bentonville, Arkansas, is the site of a multi-million-dollar library expansion project that will begin in 2023. Schematic design work and a needs assessment study have both been completed. The Bentonville Public Library will be expanded to include another 65,055 square feet of space. A projected budget of $15 million has been announced, and design work is underway. Construction is slated for early 2023.

Officials in Cincinnati Ohio are steering a relocation and construction project through the design and planning phase. The project will create a next generation 25,000-square-foot facility on a site currently owned by the city of Forest Park. The project has an estimated cost of $12.3 million. Following completion of design work, construction solicitations will be released in mid- or late-2022.

Libraries are treasured by citizens and public officials alike. The facilities revitalize their surroundings, and retail development usually follows a new or upgraded library. Tax revenues are improved, educational equity is established, and citizens value the benefits that libraries provide. With funding available and mandates to provide equitable educational benefits throughout the country, how would it be possible for this trend not to escalate?

Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.