The long awaited, much lobbied for South Bowie library, under construction and now expected to open next summer, will provide a relaxed ambience amid a slew of tech features, library officials said.
Wide open spaces, illuminated with many huge windows, will be the building’s theme.
The adult reading room is expected to encourage lingering with a faux gas fireplace and a luminous metal oak tree sculpture. In the middle of the children’s reading room will be a lifelike oak tree sculpture depicting full spring bloom, placed in such a way to create the impression that the room was built around a live tree. For teens, there will be a gaming room with video games and large screen TVs.
Other features will include:
- A drive through window to drop off and pick up items and pay fines.
- A snack room with vending machines.
- A free computer lab to teach Word, Excel, e-mail and other PC skills.
- Multiple group study rooms, with one for teens only.
- Numerous electrical outlets for laptops and smart phones.
And of course, a collection of books, magazines, DVDs and other items totaling about 80,000 pieces, said Michael Gannon, associate director for administrative services for the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System.
“We’re trying to provide something for everyone,” Gannon said. “Libraries have been with us since ancient times, but we have to keep reinventing ourselves. People expect a state of the art, 21st century facility, and we believe we will provide that in South Bowie”
Gannon said the new branch will help relieve pressure off of Bowie’s current sole library branch, the busiest in the county. Built in 1969, that library is located next to Bowie High School on Rt. 450.
The 45,000 square foot, two floor South Bowie branch and its contents are a $14.1 million project. It is being built on a 17-acre parcel of land at Central Avenue and Hall Road near the Collington Station and Devonshire Estates neighborhoods, which are adjacent to the Pointer Ridge section of Bowie.
Called the Hall Station Village Center, the site will also include a pharmacy, a credit union and 109 residential units consisting of townhouses and condominiums.
“The use of this land is exactly what residents around this property wanted,” said Rosario Ideo, president of the Citizen’s Association of South Bowie. Residents of the area spent much of the last decade negotiating with the site’s developers over what would be built there. Initial plans suggested a strip mall. “We have enough strip malls already,” said Ideo.
Ideo and other residents began lobbying state, local and county officials for a South Bowie library branch in 1999. “Back then, they told us it would take 25 years before they would even start thinking about a new library branch, so I guess this has been pretty fast,” he joked.
Start of the current construction was delayed because of an extended wet season. Gannon said it is expected that the construction should be completed in June 2012. It would then take one to several months to move in and open the new branch, he said.