If you think you know what the inside of a library looks like, try to hold that image in your mind while you click on over to the website for Library Interiors of Texas. The Austin-based company is using its Choice Partners contract to reshape run-of-the-mill bookshelves and outdated checkout counters, transforming traditional libraries into beautiful and interactive research facilities that attract and inspire patrons.
And it does the whole job from start to finish.
“Overall, it’s the best project we’ve ever done in our library,” said Jerry Hedgecock, director of public information services, city of Brownsville, referring to the design overhaul that LI-TX performed on the city’s public library.
The improvements, completed in 2012, are staggering: a revamped lobby, a new space for teens, and a public computing center that went from housing 14 machines to almost 100.
“We helped manage the project,” said Trevor Taylor, LI-TX vice president, “including design of all custom furniture, procurement of all loose and fixed furniture, and complete interior fit-out.”
Taylor, whose design expertise stems from international origins, collaborated with Hedgecock and the project architect early in the process. “Working in SketchUp, we produced full 3D rendering of the space for presentation to city management,” he said.
“Library Interiors was integral from the very beginning on the designs,” Hedgecock confirmed, explaining that the unique demands of libraries cannot be met by store-bought office furniture. Taylor’s team also helped figure out how much room the typical library patron needs to feel comfortable, measuring it to the inch.
Hedgecock added that the Choice Partners contract facilitated the library’s “gigantically well-received” renovation. “Working with Choice Partners on our library project was exceptionally easy. It was the best co-op purchase we’ve ever done, and our city participates with other purchasing cooperatives,” he said.
The city of Pflugerville agreed that Library Interiors and Choice Partners are a winning combination. Pflugerville was glad it used the Choice Partners contract when it expanded its 13-year old library from 12,500 sq ft. to 28,000 sq ft. in 2013, crediting LI-TX for allowing the facility to stay open during the project. It only had to close for 12 days over the 18-month project, never more than three days at a time.
“I loved how Library Interiors moved whole shelving units at a time,” said Lisa Charbonnet, library director, Pflugerville. “It simply wouldn’t have been possible in the time allowed otherwise.”
Charbonnet explained how LI-TX moved the whole library into the new wing while the old space was being refurbished and then quickly moved it back again at the end of the project.
Furniture deliveries were also carefully staged to arrive at the appropriate times during the process. Meeting room furniture wouldn’t have been welcome while the room was full of book stacks, but it needed to be in place for the library’s grand opening.
“What was unique and wonderful was the staging,” said Charbonnet. “That was amazing. I know of libraries that close for years to do this.”
“We loved using Choice Partners,” Charbonnet added. ”It saved us time and money — we think that’s important.”
In addition to cities, LI-TX works with school districts, counties and universities using their Choice Partners contract. They are currently finishing projects for the Texas A&M Medical Science Library in College Station and for the city of Irving. For more information about Library Interiors of Texas, go to https://www.choicepartners.org/vendors/library-interiors-of-texas-2 or call 888-689-5489.