Allen Public Library is growing! Plans are underway for expansion and reconfiguration of the existing facility. Construction is expected in 2023 with projected completion in 2024.
In April, Allen City Council approved a bond sale to include $13,614,000 for Phase 2 of the library expansion. The bond sale also provides for improvements to the City’s park system, transportation infrastructure, and library and fire services. These funds were authorized by Allen voters in the 2016 General Obligation Bond Election.
Hidell and Associates will complete site planning and submit the plans to the Central Business District Design Review Committee and to the Technical Review Committee for review, assessment and approval.
Brief history of the project
- Funding: Allen voters approved more than $16 million for library improvements during the 2016 bond election, with a library expansion identified as the primary need to meet anticipated demand of the City’s future population.
- Prior facility improvements: The 2016 bond program also covered the cost of a previous parking lot expansion which added more than 100 spaces in 2017.
- Read the complete Project Timeline
Facility Use Statistics
Allen Public Library projects 301,000 total visitors for Fiscal Year 2022, including use of 1,165,000 physical items and use of 93,000 digital items.
Service Impacts of COVID-19
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the Library closed on March 16, 2020. Online registration for temporary library cards to check out digital books and audiobooks began March 17. Virtual programming also began March 17, featuring story times posted on Facebook. Curbside pickup service began May 4, 2020. Though never offered before, curbside pickup saw one vehicle every three minutes during the initial two months.
The Library reopened June 15, 2020 with limited hours, capacity, and services, and continued curbside service. In 2021, full hours and services resumed, as did live programming. Currently, the Library is experiencing increasing visitors, circulation, program attendance, and other use with the expectation of returning to normal in 2023.
- April 12, 2022 – City Council approves bond sale to include $13,614,000 for Phase 2 of the library expansion.
- March 8, 2022 – Architects present feasibility study and design concepts to City Council during Workshop Meeting.
- February 22 to March 31, 2022 – More than 660 Allen residents respond to a follow-up survey to review the current concept design and provide feedback.
- Jan. 24 to Feb. 1, 2022 – Architects present design concepts to the Steering Committee, the Allen Library Endowment Board, and the Library Advisory Board.
- Nov. 1, 2021 to Jan. 13, 2022 – Architects meet with Library and City staff to develop and review design concepts responsive to identified community needs and the confines of the project budget. Several concepts with alternate options are considered and further developed. This process results in a concept that includes the elements that Allen residents identified as most important.
- Oct. 4, 2021 – Architects meet with the Steering Committee to review observations from the library tours and discuss elements that could be applied to increase functionality in Allen’s expanded library. These include flexible children’s and teen areas, an outdoor program area, and inviting public spaces that enhance the library experience.
- Sept. 25-30, 2021 – Steering Committee members visit public libraries in Arlington, Bedford, Coppell and McKinney. Coppell and McKinney included expansion and reconfiguration components comparable to Allen’s project. Bedford was a complete reconfiguration of an existing building. Arlington consisted of new construction located in a downtown setting, larger than Allen’s anticipated project but with applicable lessons for effective space usage. All four libraries contain automated return and check-in systems.
- Sept. 8, 2021 – Hidell reviews the project with City staff.
- Aug. 30, 2021 – Architects review and discuss public survey results with the Steering Committee.
- July 27 to Aug. 27, 2021 – More than 1,300 Allen residents respond to an online survey to identify future needs, 400 in the first week. Lucky winner Heidi Gambrell received an iPad donated to the Library for this purpose.
- June 28, 2021 – The Steering Committee tours Allen’s current facility, both public and staff areas, to observe and consider current space usage and challenges.
- May 24, 2021 – Architects meet with the Steering Committee to outline and discuss the project.
- May 19-27, 2021 – Architects meet with focus groups comprised of Library staff members to identify strengths and weaknesses of the current facility and perceive needs for the future.
- April 13, 2021 – Allen City Council approves an architectural contract with Hidell and Associates Architects, Inc. for $260,900 for conceptual design, floorplans, landscaping and exterior elevations.
- July 5 to Nov. 28, 2017 – The Library’s east parking is expanded by 106 spaces.
- May 23, 2017 – City Council awards a bid and authorizes the City Manager to execute a contract with Ratliff Hardscape, Ltd. for $719,170.58 to construct the parking expansion.
- Oct. 11, 2016 – City Council approves a contract with BW 2 Engineers, Inc. for $54,775 to design the Library parking expansion.
- May 7, 2016 - Allen voters approve $16.045 million in bond funding for Library capital projects.
- Oct. 1-22, 2015 – Allen citizens participate in the bond subcommittee process to review potential public facility projects including Library expansion. The subcommittee, led by Kathy Litinas, tours the Library on Oct. 8 to review space usage and limitations.
- Feb. 13, 2005 – Allen Public Library opens at its current location, 300 N. Allen Drive. The building was designed to be expanded when the need developed.
The facility expansion project includes an eight-member steering committee, comprised of Allen residents, who participate in regular meetings with architects and other project stakeholders.
- Eileen Tollett, Chair
- Jane Bennett
- Steve Benson
- John Holley
- Rekha Mathai
- Geoffrey Smith
- Toni Vincent
- Laura Wooten