Facility is designed to address community need as well as equity and environmental goals

After years of preparation, the City of Boulder is pleased to announce that construction is ready to begin on the North Boulder Branch Library, at 4500 13th St.

The city will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to mark this significant milestone. A new date for the ceremony will be announced soon, as a snowstorm postponed the originally scheduled ceremony for Feb. 15.

The North Boulder Branch Library has been in the making for over 30 years and was solidified as a community and workplan priority in the 2018 Library Master Plan.

This parcel of land was identified as the preferred site for this facility in 1999. It offers many benefits. The large lot is outside of the city’s floodplain and can accommodate a high-quality building, related outdoor space, nature-based programming, and adequate parking. The location is accessible by public transit and alternative modes of travel, like biking and walking. It is also adjacent to several communities that have historically been underserved, including Boulder Meadows and Ponderosa.

In addition to meeting community demand for increased library access and community space, the new North Boulder library will further equity and environmental goals. With a focus on multi-culturalism, the branch will serve as the new center for adult literacy and language learning while providing additional afterschool programs in support of working families. It also advances the concept of climate-friendly neighborhoods as it is within a 15-minute walk from several residential areas and will be a net-zero ready facility.

The overall budget for the planning, design and construction of the facility is $12.5 million and comes from the Community, Culture and Safety Tax, Developmental Excise Tax, Impact Fees, and the Library Fund. The library is expected to become part of a soon-to-be-formed library district with operations costs covered by the district’s budget.

Some of the plans are still unrealized due to a funding gap created by the escalating costs of construction. Namely, the 1,100 square-foot Culinary Maker Space the community requested will instead be an empty flex space, unless donors contribute to the Boulder Library Foundation's $1.5 million NoBo Capital Campaign, or another funding opportunity is secured. An anonymous donor has offered to match every donation, up to $30K, between now and Library Giving Day, April 4, according to the Foundation. For more information, visit www.boulderlibraryfoundation.org.

The city, in conjunction with Growing Up Boulder, conducted significant community engagement during the design phase of this project in 2019 and 2020.

Valuable feedback from young people helped to shape much of the modeling and played a significant role in the recent award of a $700,000 grant from The Colorado Health Foundation to build cohesive and culturally relevant outdoor spaces and amenities, such as a play area, a learning garden, an outdoor makerspace and enhancements to the community plaza.

The city also gave considerable thought to input from neighbors who will be most impacted by the construction and siting. In many ways, the design was a response to resident input, with the architect including spaces and features that will accommodate necessary services and programs while adjusting design concepts to address neighbor concerns. Some changes were made to the placement, orientation and size of the building; to the connections with open and park space; to the traffic design; and to the parking configuration based on this valuable feedback.

“We are excited to be at this pivotal moment,” Library Director David Farnan. “While construction inevitably creates some temporary inconveniences, we are eager for the result. The NoBo Branch Library will be a beautiful and welcoming space that supports our community’s love of learning, demonstrates our commitment to convenient and accessible public amenities, and celebrates the diverse experiences and cultures in Boulder.”

The building was designed by WORKac and will be constructed by Fransen Pittman Construction.

For more information, please visit: https://boulderlibrary.org/nobo-branch/.