Southwest Library Senior Focus Group

Southwest Library Senior Focus Group

What are your overall thoughts about the new building? When you walk into the new library, what would you like the character or feeling of the library to be?

Inviting. When I walk tin the Southeast library I see everyone on the computers. It looks busy (in a good way). Same thing here. It is welcoming.

Busy. I want to see it used by everyone in the community. The Library should have both quiet places and noisy places.

I am very visually oriented. I want something simple that will leave me alone. This meeting room (lower level meeting room) is so distracting with the background noise. Pay attention to what the library sounds like. Many older people have trouble with background noise.

I’ve been in a lot of libraries around the country. Indianapolis Central Library has huge windows. Lots of natural light. An area for coffee and tea. Nice especially for seniors. Nice to be able have a place to gather. Inviting

I’ve only lived here for a year. I don’t like how acoustically loud the Arlington Libraries are. I am driven out by the noise. Be sure to have quiet paces.

Be sure to keep parking. Sometimes I can’t find a space.

Much of what others have said, I agree with. I want to see natural light. Openness. Quiet spaces.

With all the construction in SOW, parking is moving underground in many buildings.

Maybe construct a ramp and have two levels above ground if that is cheaper.

What type of programs would you like to see offered in the new library?

DIY programs. For example, a program for seniors on how to re-arrange your kitchen. Specifically targeted at seniors.
DC government offered a program like that several years ago.

I am motivated to try to start two groups. If we have good acoustics and good presentation areas, the library could host live music and film/video presentations. One for the general public and one for video professionals to share what they are working on with others in their field. Need a space that gets really dark.

Computer classes for seniors. The ones at the main library were terrific. I’d like classes on social media. I want to stay involved in social justice organizations, but so many young people use social media that I don’t know how to use. The more technology evolves, seniors need to stay up with these new trends or we get left out.

This library is a community center in Southwest. We have no other place that is not religious. Coffee spot would help. Opportunities for the community to gather together.

A café would be great.

Book clubs would be great.

Passive space. Arlington Library has a space where they keep a puzzle set out. Leave it out for people to work on.

As my eyes get worse, be sure to keep the lighting in the stacks bright. Big signs on the edges of shelves so we can find things.

Do you have thoughts about which floor should house the adult reading room and the children’s room? Please share your reasons why?

I never even knew there was a children’s room on the 2nd floor, so I say keep it like that.

Ground floor is better for kids.

I prefer ground floor for kids. Easy access for kids is important.

For the sake of the kids, I prefer the ground floor for kids.

I raised 4 kids in SOW. They used the public library as long as they were in the public school. Once they went to private school, they never came here anymore because their school was out of the neighborhood.

Where I live in the townhomes, I see kids coming in droves. I see kids with bags of books. I’ve seen an influx of kids coming here.
Let’s talk about Technology.  How frequently do you use:
-public access computers
-free WiFi
-do you have a preference for laptop vs. desktop computer?

I have a small computer. The librarian at Southeast Library taught me how to use many features on it. I use my phone, but there is so much that I don’t know how to do. I need classes. I use the classes more than the equipment that the library offers.

I need training.

I use the 15 minute computer if I am reading something and I want to look something up. Sometimes I want to see what I’m working on in more length, so I will sign up for one of the computers. The type of (video) work I do needs a dark space. I rarely come to films here because the equipment is terrible. I would love to have a really good sound system to show films.

Computer access with printing capability is important.

I use the computer for games. I don’t do research. I haven’t come to the library in a long time. I’d like to be able to read magazines that I don’t get at home. Foreign language. Montgomery County has a great used book store that I love to peruse.

Used books would be great.

I reserve books online from home.

Reserving books is great, but if you don’t know what you want, you need books on display to decide what to read.

Someone showed me how to download books. That was great.

That’s the kind of technology I would be interested in learning about.

I get a lot of my own work on DVD. I would like to be able to make copies of DVDs.

I think it would be great to be able to borrow a laptop.
Would you like to see an Outdoor Space incorporated into the design? A space where customers could sit and read or that could accommodate small programs? If so, please describe what kind of space you envision.

It would be great. For the children, there is the park. My dream has always been to have a 3rd floor with a coffee shop and lots of glass. Maybe ½ of the roof could be open for seating. Or a large porch with views to the neighborhood.

A rooftop or porch would bring people in as a gathering place.

I like to read and write outdoors.

I like the idea of a porch concept. But bugs can be an issue, so a screen and protection from the sun.

Previous library projects have sought to incorporate neighborhood history in the building design. Please discuss whether this is a feature you would like to see in the building, and, if so, what ideas do you have for reflecting the history of the Southwest Waterfront into the new library?

SOW now and SOW then. The Waterfront. Even though there are historical markers in the neighborhood.

There is a wonderful slide show from the 50s, 60s, that features lots of photos of the Southwest neighborhood. “Roses to Bulldozers”. It is available online.

Maybe have a slide show of neighborhood history in the library.

Whatever you do, show different eras and include maps. Old 4th Street. Up to current day.

Titanic memorial. Ft. McNair. Mary Surrat. Trial and Hanging

I am a heavy user of the neighborhood signs. Whatever is done in the library, I would like it to be ongoing, constantly changing so that it doesn’t get stale.

Have an exhibit that features history of the neighborhood .
What other thoughts would you like to share with the design team?

The population of the neighborhood is going to double. We need to plan for that. I think the library will need to be bigger.

We need to think about ways to serve everyone in the neighborhood.

This library is dreary. I don’t like to spend time here. If we had a newer facility, I would come more. Right now it is depressing.  As a senior who lives alone, I don’t want to come here and get more depressed.

The building has to have something to draw people in. Make it spectacular.

All of this argues for a gorgeous design. Not another box. Strikingly beautiful. The new Arena Stage. The new church. Something spectacular.

The high rises around are boxes. They are not inspiring.

I don’t want it to feel like the library in Tenleytown. It is too modern and too cold.

They used wood very creatively at Arena Stage. It is gorgeous. They solved so many problems with that renovation.  They created a space for people to gather and to eat.

A lot of agreement that a porch would be great – put it above the parking lot. It would create an outdoor space that the library could control and keep safe.