Providence Public Library undergoes major renovation

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Providence Public Library recently went through the largest public library renovation in the history of Rhodes Island. To celebrate the launch of the renovated library, the Providence Public Library (PPL) recently posted a ribbon-cutting virtual video, which was followed by a grand opening gala a few days later. The virtual release was done to comply with the COVID-19 restrictions.

The renovation of the library took 18 months and involved transforming 84,000 sf inside a library wing that was constructed in 1953. The project cost $29 million and converted the Empire Street entrance into a three-story atrium. The atrium was unveiled in July.  Other renovation works involved replacing the interior walls so as to create an open and light-filled design.

An additional 2,500-sf workshop/maker space was created through the renovation while a new light and sound system was installed in the wing’s 255-seat auditorium. Additional space for digital collections and teen interaction was created.

The project was complete in line with the library’s THINK AGAIN Capital Campaign, which involved transforming the library to meet the current needs of its users. In a statement, PPL’s Executive Director Jack Martin said, “These renovations are a game-changer for everyone visiting and using our beloved library.” He added that the renovation has created a beautiful and welcoming library that is in line with the current educational, cultural, and career development requirements.

Among the elements that featured in the video presentation are encomiums from state and federal dignitaries, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Crosby Kemper, director of the Federal Institute of Museum & Library Services, and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

The project was designed by designLAB Architects (dLAB) that worked in a team that included players like Wil-Spec, The Queastor Group, Structures Workshop, Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering, KVA Associates, AWA Lighting Designers, Fisher Dachs Associates, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (engineering), Ed Wojcik Architects, and Bond Building Construction (GC).