Main Library Renovation Q&A



Your input continues to be important, so please use the form on this page to submit any additional questions. Thank you for taking part in this process, your involvement helps us build a better library for Richmond!

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Newly Answered Questions

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Main Library Design

    Date Posted: Thu, Jun 22 - 2:19 pm


  • Why has the city chosen this discordant design which makes no effort to reflect the historic neighborhood ?
  • Answer

  • The Main Library design you see reflected on our website is concept only. The rendering reflects the requests and suggestions of patrons, members of the public, and staff. Before any design is finalized or approved, Richmond Public Library will go through yet another round of meetings, surveys, and outreach. In the interim, if you are interested in a tour of our 1930 and 1972 buildings, it would be my pleasure to walk through with you and answer any questions you may have - and note any ideas or suggestions you wish to share. Again, thank you for your time in submitting the question.

Accessible Parking for Patrons

    Date Posted: Thu, Aug 11 - 4:03 pm


  • How much will the inclusion of 69 new underground parking spaces add on to the price of this project? The site as is does not have parking, and its always busy. It's incompatible with our climate and equity goals to spend so much money just to subsidize folks driving to this location. This is the most walkable, bikable, transit-accessible library branch in the city, and it should spend its money on the people who visit, not cars that want to park underground. People will always complain about parking. I would like my bus to not run just once per half hour after 7pm to get me to your library. I would like to have more bike lanes to safely get me to your location. Why not fund those instead?
  • Answer

  • Members of the community indicate that safe parking and ground-level access to the library is an expectation and a necessity for them to attend library programs during the day and evening. The Main Library has the largest meeting space of all nine locations, so large events are hosted here. Additionally, patrons with impaired mobility (those using wheelchairs, walkers, rollators) and parents/guardians with young children in strollers continue to request safe and easy access to the library. For able-bodied and interested patrons, the bus stop is two blocks away, and there is an RVA Bike Share station just outside the library. Additional suggestions from the community include EV plug-ins and a covered bike rack area that is safely accessible from the 2nd Street bike lane (which culminates at the Library). Renovating the basement of the existing structure enables the Library to both address growing climate impact on the structure and answer a need expressed by our patrons. Cost will be determined in the next phase.

Children's Space

    Date Posted: Thu, Aug 11 - 4:00 pm


  • Could the children's department be moved closer to the entrance? The shortest legs should not have to walk the farthest. Thank you!
  • Answer

  • We will share this input with the architects during the next round of design development. A newly envisioned children’s space is anticipated to be interactive and attractive for our youngest readers.

Additional Outlets

    Date Posted: Thu, Aug 11 - 3:59 pm


  • Can you please add more outlets throughout the library? Many of the tables designed for individual/group study, especially on the second floor, have no outlets. They are almost never used, and it seems like an easy fix to get more people studying/working in the library without crowding around computers. It's almost impossible to effectively get work done using a personal computer without reliable access to a charging outlet.
  • Answer

  • Yes, additional outlets will be added. Technology has changed significantly since the 1972 addition, and we understand the need for patrons to be able to access more outlets for devices.

Community Hub for Disaster Response

    Date Posted: Tue, May 03 - 4:32 pm


  • The master plan refers to resiliency in the sense of disaster response, as well. Are there conceptual ideas that involve hardening the site from disasters and after a disaster acting as a community hub for disaster response?
  • Answer

  • This building currently houses the City of Richmond Office of Emergency Management. In the next phase of work, we will review the topic of resiliency for disaster response with that agency. At that time, our structural engineer will analyze the current structure of the building to determine what it would entail for building hardening.

LEED Certification

    Date Posted: Tue, May 03 - 4:16 pm


  • Will the building qualify or come close to qualifying for LEED certification?
  • Answer

  • Yes, the building will be LEED certified, we are aiming to have a minimum LEED Silver net zero building (we will research achieving LEED Zero).

Materials from the Existing Building

    Date Posted: Tue, May 03 - 4:14 pm


  • Will any materials from the existing building (exterior or interior) be reused?
  • Answer

  • Yes, materials from the interior of the existing 1920s building embedded in the 1970s wrapper will be salvaged and reused / displayed in the renovated library (for example the marble cladding from the interior walls of the existing foyer).

Sustainable Stormwater Reduction and Retention

    Date Posted: Tue, May 03 - 4:09 pm


  • Can you detail any concepts to be used for sustainable stormwater reduction and retention?
  • Answer

  • As you may know, the library has had issues with flooding in the basement due to the combined storm / sewer lines in the street, so this will be a topic of primary concern in the next phase of work when we will engage our civil engineer. Our concept includes a splash pad, where the water can be stored in underground tanks and then recycled back through the water features. We also plan for permeable pavers, roof gardens, and bioretention in landscape areas.

Old Art Deco Building

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 6:21 pm


  • I really encourage the Library to save the art deco building. Replace a different part of the property, if necessary. That building is a true gem.
  • Answer

  • The exterior of the art deco building was severely damaged in the 1972 expansion and is no longer salvageable. We will save interior art deco elements, unique finishes and features of the 1928 building.

The Crozet House

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 6:18 pm


  • Doesn’t that top rendering of the “western end” show the addition of property at First and Main that is not owned by RPL, and currently has a historic structure (circa-1815 Crozet House)?
  • Answer

  • The historic Crozet House at First and Main is not on Library property, not owned by the Library, and therefore it is not part of this rendering and will not be impacted by the renovation at Main.