Case Statement

Perhaps you’ve noticed . . .

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The Lewes region is getting busier – and younger!

By 2030, the number of people living in and around Lewes will nearly double. New residents will include both retirees and many families with children.

Our Lewes Public Library has served us well, but it is too small to accommodate even current needs, let alone this expected level of growth, and the building cannot feasibly be expanded.

As our region’s population grows, there will be increased need for new library services, as detailed in this document. The digitization of reading materials will not replace the need for community services and interactions.

The key question for everyone is: how can we create a new library that will adequately meet our community’s needs for the next 50 years?

And, given emerging technologies, just what are those needs?

We’ve brought in national experts, consulted with the Delaware Division of Libraries, talked with our patrons and visited numerous libraries in many states.

After years of analysis and discussion, the Lewes Public Library Board, staff and committees – people just like you – have identified five primary community needs to which the library must respond.

The answers we have found are in this case statement.

# 1 Prepare Our Youth for Success

Prepare Our Youth for Success

Helping the young people in our service area prepare for success in the 21st century is the first requirement of our new library.

To accomplish this, we have designed a colorful, imaginative area for children from tots to age 12 with one objective in mind – to encourage and help instill in them a love of reading, the building block of all future knowledge.

We will also construct a separate young adult area, where our teenage patrons can study, socialize, pursue projects, research colleges, prepare applications, find internships, apply for scholarships and explore careers.

# 2 Make Sense of Technology

Make Sense of Technology

Our new library will equalize access and help all patrons understand and make productive use of emerging and evolving technologies.

This will be done through continual investment in new equipment and programs, allowing hands-on training and experience under the guidance of skilled instructors.

As libraries nationwide have found, the more new technology is introduced, the greater the need for libraries to train, explain and unlock the potential of interlocking electronic tools.

# 3 Bring People Together

Bring People Together

Although individualized technology can isolate us, people still have a basic need to come together to solve problems, produce new achievements, share knowledge and enjoy each other’s company.

The new library will facilitate this with a variety of spaces designed for human interaction, from one-on-one tutoring to large group meetings, presentations and programs created by the library and by our patrons themselves.

# 4 Provide Free Access to Information

Provide Free Access to Information

This core purpose of libraries has not changed over centuries. Even as the means to obtain information multiply, the library remains the one place people can go for fast, free access to the knowledge they require.

Interactivity and multi-dimensionality will allow our patrons to both access information and make creative use of it in a multitude of ways, for a wide range of purposes.

# 5 Maintain Links to Our Past

Maintain Links to Our Past

The importance of Lewes in our region’s history will not be forgotten in the new library, which will provide an attractive, climate-controlled space to store and retrieve historical documents, books, paintings, photographs and ephemera, much of which has been donated by our patrons themselves.

The new Delaware Room will both preserve actual historical items, and make digitized copies of print materials available online.

The Lewes Public Library Service Area

Service Area Map

The City of Lewes is at the core of a rapidly growing service area that will increase from 17,000 to 30,000 in population by 2030. The Delaware Division of Libraries recommends one square foot of library space for each person living in the service area. At 28,500 square feet, our new building and site will meet future demands plus have the ability to expand by another 10,000 square feet if needed.

Library Volunteers

Nearly 100 people volunteer at the Lewes Public Library, contributing more than 20 hours each day and saving the Library tens of thousands of dollars every year. This doesn’t include the time given by more than 500 Friends of the Library who help with book sales, publishing projects and other fundraising activities.

Volunteers work at the circulation desk, assist with children’s programs, select and shelve new materials and weed old collections.

This amount of help means that, even with a larger facility, our staffing costs will not increase.

Look at our growth!

Over the past 14 years,

Attendance Graph

A. Patron visits up 76% from 86,721 to 150,000, now 525 people per day!

Circulation Graph

B. Items checked out increased 63% from 110,975 to 180,959 per year.

Adult Programs Graph

C. Demand for adult programs up 2,200% from 12 to 276 per year, and attendance from 390 to 2,623!

From 2000-2010 our service area population grew by 38% while library membership grew by 71%. With more people now retiring and moving here, and more young families buying affordable homes close to Lewes, this sort of growth in service requirements will only increase.

Annual Library Growth Forecasts

Estimates for two and seven year growth trends follow. The increased capacity afforded by the new library will have a particular impact on program attendance, which is estimated to grow from 878 programs with 14,511 attendees in 2014 to 1,470 programs and 26,250 attendees by 2021.

Current 2016 2021
Visitors 144,087 190,000 225,000
Circulation 182,901 220,000 250,000
Adult Programs 300 / 3,000 people 450 / 6500 people 525 / 7,500 people
City Programs 100 / 2,000 150 / 2,500 175 / 2,750
Technology Classes 150 / 800 300 / 2,500 350 / 3,000
Children’s Programs 328 / 8,711 370 / 11,000 420 / 13,000
Internet Access 16,924 26,000 29,000

Decorative Arrows

New Library Building & Site

At 28,500 square feet, the new Lewes Public Library will be almost double the current size, with three times as much parking. It will be built in a park-like setting across from the current building.

The new library site will also be the nexus for an emerging rail-trail system to and from Rehoboth Beach via the Junction-Breakwater Trail and Cape Henlopen State Park; and west toward central Sussex County.

Site Plan />
Building Location

Design of the library honors the rich historic architecture of our community while making use of advanced new building materials and technologies.

Exterior Photos

  • As patrons enter the new library, they will pass a range of meeting rooms, which will also be accessible after-hours.
  • Moving further into the building, visitors will leave the activity surrounding the administrative offices, meeting rooms and front desk, and move into a comfortable quiet area for research and reading.
  • Children and teens will have their own private spaces with access to an outside patio area.
  • Generous use of glass will meld the outdoors into the library experience.
  • Shelving and display areas will be moveable, to allow flexible future uses of the building.
  • Tutor Room Concept
    Children's Room Concept
    Children's Room Concept
    Delaware Room Concept

    Here is More Specific Project Detail

    Floor Plan

    1. Children’s Area – this larger space is being designed around the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read principles, incorporating
      areas for reading, writing, talking, singing and playing. Programs, books and technology will be available for children from tots to age 12. The space will include its own circulation desk, a computer area, play area, family restrooms, and program room with storage and craft supplies.
    2. Delaware Room – an expanded, comfortable and quiet space to learn about the history of Lewes and Delaware, with larger meeting capacity and storage for
      an ever-growing book and document collection. The room will feature climate controls appropriate for the collection’s rare and fragile items.
    3. Young Adult Area – at last, teenagers from our region will have their own space to meet, learn and relax. This room will offer teen fiction and non-
      fiction; computing and study areas for individuals and groups; a technology room including Mac computers for video and audio editing with green screen
      accessories; and comprehensive access to information about SATs, colleges and universities and applications for enrollment, scholarships and internships.
    4. Conference Areas – there will be three meeting rooms available for groups of up to 250, 125 and 75 people, in addition to smaller study and tutor rooms
      to accommodate from two to six people. The conference rooms will each have audiovisual equipment and wireless connectivity, plus access to kitchen and restroom facilities.
    5. How Will the Conference Rooms be Used?

      • Children’s story times
      • Book club meetings
      • Meet-the-candidate forums
      • Foreign language conversation groups
      • Writers’ guild classes
      • Author lectures
      • Photography displays
      • Robotics & other club meetings
      • Movie screenings
      • Technology training workshops
      • Safe driving classes
      • Homeowner association meetings – just to name a few!
    6. Administration Area – Our 13 library staff members will no longer be crowded into space designed for four people. Instead, there will be offices for
      administrators and workstations for transit and processing book deliveries; sorting and repair; and inter-library lending. A small café will offer snacks and beverages for staff and patrons.
    7. Friends of the Library Office & Store – the sale of books and materials that are created by, or donated to Friends generates more than $45,000 per year for the library. Our new facility will feature a dedicated space for Friends’ volunteers to work, store books and have products for sale.
    8. Computer & Technology Area – there will be 20 public-accessible computers located close to the circulation desk so staff can easily provide assistance. The entire library facility will feature free wifi and many comfortable areas where patrons can use their own devices. A small training room will accommodate up to 12 users for hands-on instruction with new technologies.

    What do Patrons Use Library Computers For?

    • Job-seeking
    • Online learning
    • Application for benefits
    • Trip planning
    • Ordering merchandise
    • Proctored exams
    • Health information
    • Investment modeling
    • Civic information
    • Access to expensive, specialized databases
    • Project research
    • Social inclusion – and so much more
    • Project Budget & Timeline

      Architectural design $402,000
      Land acquisition $1,240,000
      Construction documents $675,000
      Site work $900,000
      Construction $6,750,000
      Furniture, fixtures, equipment $250,000
      Fundraising $225,000
      Total Expenses $10,442,000
      Delaware Division of Libraries $5,096,000
      Fundraising $3,613,000
      City of Lewes Request $ 1,000,000
      State Funding:
      DE Trails & Pathways $312,400
      Community Transportation $100,000
      DelDOT stand-alone appropriation $250,000
      DNREC grant $62,400
      Sussex County $10,000
      Total Income: $10,443,800

      The campaign for the new Lewes Library began in January 2014 and will conclude by the fall of 2015.

      Campaign Leadership

      Campaign Chair

      Dennis N. Forney

      Honorary Co-Chairs

      Hon. James L. Ford
      Joseph Hudson

      Campaign Leaders

      Bernard Gilmore
      Beckie Healey, ex-officio
      Jack Hoban
      Hugh Leahy
      John E. Lingo, Jr.
      Donna Repass
      W. Joseph Stewart
      Barbara Vaughan
      Candace Vessella
      Lucienne Vignol Wolfe
      Lee Ann Wilkinson

      This Case Statement is available as a PDF here.

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