The Drake Library opened on Monday, Nov. 2nd after 18 months of construction after breaking ground in May of 2008. The new library, named for Professor of History and former President of Grinnell George Drake, replaced the old Stewart Library on Broad Street.
In addition to increasing the square footage threefold, there have been many improvements made to benefit library users. Although it has about the same number of books as the Stewart Library, it has four times the amount of computers, and free wireless Internet. One convenient addition is a single-level floor plan, as opposed to the old four-story plan. The new building is designed to be more accessible to handicapped persons and makes maneuvering throughout the library easier. Marna Montgomery, a frequent visitor, is pleased with the new layout.
“Oh, it’s so much better and more spread out,” said Montgomery. “I think they did a wonderful job, they should be so proud.”
Accessibility is only one element of many as the building is also much more environmentally friendly. This is largely thanks to the implementation of an LEED certified design (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Drake Library features a geothermal heating and cooling system that uses the heat exchange between the earth and air in order to regulate the temperature inside the library. Also, like the Grinnell College Dining Hall, the lighting inside the library adjusts to the outside brightness. Thanks to these upgrades, the library uses 50 percent less energy than a building of the same size without such components.
Besides loaning out books, magazines and videos, the library has meeting rooms, a “Teen Area” that serves as a study area for local adolescents, an Imaginative Story Room for children, a drive-up book return, and a gift shop that sells used books. It also has a local history room that is temperature controlled in order to better preserve the historical documents it houses.
The library’s grand opening is from Dec. 5-13, with the Dedication and Ribbon Cutting on Saturday, Dec. 5th at 1 p.m. The opening will feature author visits, special story-times and musical events.