Schweitzer Brentwood Library

The Brentwood Library has been the neighborhood library home to countless Springfieldians since 1971. Originally designed as a residentially scaled facility, the brick and gabled roof building resembles a ranch-style house popular from that time period and scattered throughout the neighborhood. Despite the lack of monumentality, the library’s patrons developed a strong sense of ownership and pride in their neighborhood library. With consistently strong programming for children, teens, adults and seniors, the facility not only became known as “my library”, but outgrew it’s original structure and parking lot by 1995 when a small addition provided a large public meeting room. As the strength of the Library District grew and numerous other facilities were constructed throughout the metropolitan area, the Brentwood Library continued to serve its dedicated patrons for another 15 years, evolving beyond the traditional storage of books to provide a central social and informational hub for southeast Springfield.

Working in collaboration with Clark Huesemann, a series of open forum meetings with staff and patrons were organized in order to determine the best approach to ensuring that Brentwood Library remains a relevant resource and neighborhood hub for another 40 years. With a long list of needs including new mechanical systems, electrical systems, increased parking, a new drive up window, and improved interior layouts, virtually everyone agreed that the original character of Brentwood Library should not be compromised.

The solution adds a new glass reading room along the entry side of the building, allowing other programmatic functions to shift in the building plan to accommodate updated needs. The reading room increases the building’s transparency and daylight to the building’s interior, while a vertical “beacon” marks the entrance with color and light. A new drive through window is then tucked behind the building along with added parking for staff. An analysis of the existing building uncovered a steel truss roof system hidden by the original acoustic ceiling tile and grid with insulation at the ceiling. In order to improve the building’s energy efficiency and expand the spatial experience, the insulation is moved to the roof layer, allowing the steel trusses to be exposed and highlighted with new LED lighting. Springfield-Greene County Library District is currently engaged in The ReNEW Brentwood Capital Campaign with a goal of $2.5 million to support the project.