City, county, and state officials hosted a ribbon-cutting and reception on September 13 to celebrate the opening of the new Route 9 Library & Innovation Center, a community service hub redefining the traditional library experience with its STEM learning laboratory, black box theater, maker space, and sensory room for autistic children. Designed by global design and architecture firm Perkins&Will in collaboration with consulting and engineering firm Tetra Tech, the 43,000 square-foot center provides access to traditional library resources as well as new technologies, creative production tools, and skill development programs.
Dedicated Spaces for Learning and Creative Expression
Several distinctive rooms within the library are designed to meet the unique needs of community users. These featured spaces, together with the traditional offering of books, digital content, and reference resources, fulfill the shared aspiration of the community seeking a place to find previously unavailable services and technology:
A Sensory Room, where visitors can modulate the levels of sensory stimulation to their personal preferences, will serve patrons with special needs including children at varying levels of the autism spectrum. Developed in partnership with Autism Delaware and designed by Perkins&Will, this is the first sensory room in the United States designed for a public library.
The STEM Lab (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), a Media Production Studio, and the Maker Space will inspire creativity and challenge the imagination by bringing digital technology and production tools to library patrons for everyday use.
The Scriptorium provides both children and young adults a novel learning place to hone their writing skills by using a variety of analog and digital communication tools.
Full-Service Kitchen and Café offers healthy options for dining and provides chef-led instruction in cooking via public classes and demonstrations. In partnership with local nonprofits and schools, the kitchen will be used as a peer-to-peer training ground for those looking to enter the food service industry.
The Lego® Room is a family space where children and adults can create together and build whatever ones creative imagination can envision.
Design Redefines the Library and Community Connection
Inspired by the legacy of a great tree under which the New Castle communities once gathered, the new Route 9 Library & Innovation Center will be a place for all community members to discover, engage, inspire, and create. The building is meant to be transparent welcoming and visually porous. The design utilizes a perforated metal skin, symbolic of a tree canopy that provides dappled shade, shelter, and a special place to congregate.
The vision of community leaders and library stakeholders was to create a welcoming hub with multiple public services and technology resources freely accessible for all – including schoolchildren, seniors, and community partners. The library provides a place to build professional skills, discover career opportunities, increase literacy, and provide the latest in digital technology tools to every individual.
For generations, the public library was considered a have-to destination, since it was the only source for books, maps, and reference information, says Derek Jones, a Principal of Perkins&Will. 如今，大多数人可以通过数字技术从家庭、办公室或咖啡店访问这些资源。 Route 9 图书馆与创新中心是一个旨在满足社区需求的令人兴奋的、充满活力的、体验性、以学习为中心的目的地。
“这个图书馆的愿景超出了我们通常与图书馆相关的服务类型 – 为9号公路走廊的振兴创造一个锚，这将激励所有年龄的人，兴趣和需要发现，获得新的技能和最终蓬勃发展，”纽卡斯尔县社区服务部总经理马库斯·亨利说。
除了专门的教学室和创意表达，中心更大的聚集空间，如黑匣子表演剧场，多功能室和室外农贸市场是接近计划的创新图书馆的校园扩展站点。 该县正在寻求新住房、商业和综合用途开发的建议，创新中心将定位为未来用途的锚地。 图书馆和创新中心的服务和社区聚集场所可以作为未来校园项目的共享使用中心和连接点。
纽卡斯尔县以图书馆为连接点，也与当地学校和社区团体合作。 例如，该县与附近的 Serviam 女子学院合作，将图书馆 STEM 实验室纳入学校常规科学课程，并与威廉·佩恩高中烹饪艺术项目合作，使用图书馆厨房和咖啡馆。
9 号公路图书馆和创新中心以其多样的服务和设施，不仅激发了相邻的发展理念，还为其他社区提供了一个鼓舞人心的模式，以重新思考 21 世纪社区图书馆的全部潜力德里克·琼斯说。