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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

Have a question? Submit your question on Main Library Renovations page or browse our list of newly answered questions.

Roof top safety

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 6:15 pm


  • How will the railings on the roof encourage safety?
  • Answer

  • The railings on the roof are shoulder height, and green roof plantings will discourage getting close to the railings.

Preserving the Dooley Building

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 6:10 pm


  • Is that an entirely new building or are stories added to the original? How about the old part of the library, does that remain inside the new building?? I hope you maintain some of the classic architecture & features of the original building along with some exciting new lines & expansion. Good luck!
  • Answer

  • Thank you, it is our intention to maintain aspects of the architecture and interesting features of the original 1928 building. We know patrons have important memories tied to the Dooley building, and will seek to retain aspects of the old building in the redesigned library.

The older Dooley building

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 5:16 pm


  • What is the plan for the historic section of the library that was built by Mrs. Dooley? Will it be maintained as it was with the original expansion?
  • Answer

  • The 1972 expansion responded to the need of Richmonders at the time, adding 90,000 sq ft. for books. Elements of the older Dooley building will be saved. Any attempted renovation to the older building would require extensive renovation and engineering to bring the building into code compliance. This option was reviewed extensively, and unfortunately preservation and structurally reinventing the space to modern library needs would add significant, prohibitive cost.

Solar Panels on the new Library

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 5:14 pm


  • How much solar will be on the roof? (the more the better)
  • Answer

  • At this point we are unable to answer this important question. Our goal is to be as energy efficient as possible, setting a standard for the city and the region for a civic building and library.

Renewable Energy @ RPL

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 5:07 pm


  • Will this renovation plan bring the Main branch to a net-zero energy standard or LEED platinum standard? How does this plan take into account the Climate Emergency?
  • Answer

  • Our goal is a silver LEED building at a minimum. The overarching environmental and sustainability goal is to be the first net-zero or net-positive library in the region.

Library Park and Usable Green Spaces

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 5:05 pm


  • Would RPL consider investing in usable green space/courtyard south of the building as part of the renovation? I.e. patio, tables and chairs for reading/studying, landscaping, and potentially some climbable features for small kids. I know that parking is in short supply, but this would add to the experience of visiting the library.
  • Answer

  • Library Park on the south side of the building will see additional seating and updated landscaping with an eye toward reducing stormwater runoff and enhanced native plantings. We are considering how best to engage our younger patrons in physical activities and appreciate the suggestions.

Redesigning Main Library

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 5:03 pm


  • Is redesigning an already beautiful public structure an efficient use of funds?
  • Answer

  • We are delighted to hear people love the Main Library. As with any building that has sections 50 and 100 years old, there are challenges. The HVAC systems are not as reliable or energy efficient as newer systems, and with the increase in water related events, the flooding experienced in the library basement has increased, putting books and other resources at risk. An investment in the Main Library is a responsible use of funds to support Richmond for the next 50-100 years.

Human Services and Academic Support @ RPL

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 4:57 pm


  • How might a renovated building incorporate a community resource center that could be a one stop shop for human services and academic support?
  • Answer

  • Our Main Library must evolve to meet the needs of the 21st century. The renovation will include additional meeting spaces for non-profits, a small business incubator, and meeting rooms for tutoring or study. Our human services offerings will continue through our extensive partnerships throughout the community.

Library Resources During Renovation

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 4:53 pm


  • While the library is under construction, will similar resources be provided to the population that currently depends on them elsewhere nearby? (i.e. homeless/people w/out the internet, printing resources, etc.)
  • Answer

  • The library will continue to work with community partners to ensure access to resources continues while the library is renovated. Access to the Internet, scanning, printing, notary services and more will continue to be offered in each of the 8 neighborhood branches that will be open throughout the renovation.

New Library Programming

    Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01 - 4:48 pm


  • It would be nice to have a new library and programming like the facilities in Henrico Co, especially Libbie Mill.
  • Answer

  • Libbie Mill, Fairfield, Varina are beautiful award winning libraries. We will incorporate details and features that are proven to be popular and successful. If there are specific aspects of Libbie Mill you suggest, please let us know.