Current Condition of the Brookfield Library
The library is basically one cramped room. Only in the middle of the library is where you'd find computers, and a small area for teens has been carved out at the end of an aisle. We have no small rooms for meetings, quiet research areas, tutoring or space for remote work. We have only one gathering space, our community room. That room is used through the day, every day, so that we are actually unable to provide additional programs.
Our library is not fully handicap accessible. Think about that for a minute. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, and some 30 years later, we still do not provide complete access to the library and community room. Example: in the main body of the library, a person in a wheelchair would have difficulty navigating the main aisles because of the rows of computers, furniture and bookshelves. The community room poses the most problems. The outside ramp is far too steep for someone in a wheelchair to use and the outer doors are not handicap accessible. The bathroom in the community area is so poorly designed and cramped that a person would not be able to get a wheelchair or rolling walker in that room. The only handicap accessible bathroom is the single bathroom on the main floor, but since we have no elevator, a person in a wheelchair would not be able to get to that facility from the community room.
Parking is a problem. We currently have fewer than 40 parking spaces on library property for staff and visitors. Now consider that more than 100,000 people visit the library annually, including over a hundred for special programs. The Brookfield Library clearly needs more parking area.
What we will have:
A new library would have a dedicated area for children where they could access books, sit in comfortable chairs to look at them, and have the happy, often loud, exuberant conversation of little ones. We would also like areas for parents to sit nearby and chat with other parents.
We want our teens to acquire the library habit early in life so that they become life-long learners and users. We want their space to be an inviting, comfortable area as they do research projects, study for tests, or enjoy fellowship in a safe space.
Libraries of today also provide “maker space” where people can, as examples, use 3-D printers, learn new skills with hand-on activities, enjoy arts and crafts projects. We have no designated maker space. When we offer a maker space event in the community room, we have to take any equipment and supplies out of storage, set up, offer the program, and immediately remove everything for the next group to use such as a toddler program or discussion group. Last year, we offered 58 classes, with over 240 in attendance.
(and of course handicapped accessibility and sufficient parking)