Main Library: Past, Present and Future
This is your New Main Library
In November 2019, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library proudly unveiled the designs for its new $100 million, 115,000-square-foot Main Library in Uptown Charlotte. See the news release here.
The new Main Library is poised to become a major destination in Uptown Charlotte that is welcoming and inviting to everyone. The Library will break ground on the new building in early 2021 and is scheduled for completion and opening in early 2024.
The new Main Library is designed to provide flexible spaces to meet demand for print and digital information and reading materials, public co-working spaces, and meetings, events gatherings, and other specialized uses. The building is designed to be expansive and inviting, opening itself up to the surrounding city and offering a diversity of integrated spaces that allow it to function as a place for knowledge and exchange.
Each level is designed with a specific thematic focus:
- Lower Level: houses a pre-function and event space
- Level 1: includes the two main entrances as well as a café entrance, lobby, café, immersive theater area, reading zones, and self-service checkpoints
- Level 2: features the welcome and orientation center for new and recent Mecklenburg residents, with a job training center and counseling services space, along with the core technology and makerspace offerings, including a technology center, computer lab, digital visualization lab, and recording studios. There is also an outdoor terrace which offers views up and down Tryon Street and connects to the street life below
- Level 3: houses the bulk of the collections and offers soft seating for reading and research overlooking Tryon and 6th streets, along with staff space
- Level 4: showcases the revamped Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, and features the library’s special collections and an immersive theater and staff space
- Level 5: houses the spacious destination reading room, a writer’s studio and porch, and an outdoor terrace which serves as a reading, programming and meeting space with a unique view of Uptown Charlotte, along with administrative offices.
Features of the new Main Library include:
- five levels above ground and one below
- two outdoor terraces
- an extensive active lobby
- a vendor-operated café
- advanced technology capabilities including two immersive theaters
- collections spread throughout the building
- flexible meeting space and rooms
- a revamped Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room
- a main entrance on North Tryon
- and more.
The new main library will be an architecturally-distinctive, state-of-the-art, technologically-advanced knowledge center and public commons, where everyone in our community can access the resources of a 21st century library, use them to learn and grow to the best version of ourselves, connect with others and participate in the public life of our community. This will be the gateway to a re-imagined North Tryon street corridor, and a catalyst for additional re-development to be announced surrounding our block. The new Main Library helps further our mission to improve lives and build a stronger community by strengthening public engagement, supporting economic opportunity and connecting community resources.
The new Main Library project is a public-private partnership. Mecklenburg County has committed $65 million for the construction of new Main Library, and the associated build-out of an offsite support services center that will house non-customer facing activities currently located at the existing Main Library. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation’s CommonSpark campaign will raise $50 million for the new Main Library, plus an additional $20 million for library system needs. Total public and private funding for the project is $135 million.
The new Main Library will be a remarkable place and space where the entire community can gather as it has since the original Carnegie Library opened at this site in 1903. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation invites our entire community to invest in the next generation of readers, leaders and learners.
All media kit information can be found here.
Background on planning for the new Main Library
Planning for a new Main Library has been underway since 2012, and included broad community input. The creative vision for the new Main Library – the “public commons” – has been the result of that input, and will inform design, programs, partnerships and more. This vision was developed with community input during visioning sessions led by consulting firm MACHINE, funded by the Knight Foundation. With the selection of the architectural team of Clark Nexsen and Snøhetta with community input through Town Hall meetings, surveys and workshops.
How is this connected to community initiatives?
- The North Tryon Vision Plan, which is bringing energy and attention to Main Library and its neighbors.
- The Seventh & Tryon redevelopment, which includes a new Main Library, refurbished McGlohon Theatre, housing, retail and more.
- The Mecklenburg County 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan, which includes $65 million in public funding for a new Main Library that will be combined with privately raised funds to build and enhance the new Main Library.
- Charlotte Center City Partners’ 2020 Vision Plan, in which North Tryon is one of six key focus areas.
- Nearby redevelopment such as the Carolina Theatre at Belk Place project led by Foundation For The Carolinas, the Discovery Place renovation and others.
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