(March 4, 2023) Check it out! The new Frisco Public Library is now open with three times the space, more computers and high-tech amenities, a larger learning playscape, a social staircase and a towering, skeletal model dinosaur centerpiece!
“To say this library is ‘not just for books’ is an understatement,” said Mayor Jeff Cheney. “This is an incredible gathering place where all generations can learn, study, play, create, explore, and be entertained. It’s the heart and soul of our community.”
This morning, Mayor Cheney joined Henry Hill, Deputy City Manager, and Shelley Holley, Director of the Frisco Public Library in shared comments during a brief ceremony.
“We promised the Mayor and Council the new Frisco Public Library would amaze, surprise and delight,” said Henry Hill, Deputy City Manager. “It is a very ‘Frisco’ project. It shows how Frisco plans and executes for quality and for the long term. It is an adaptive reuse incorporating lean thinking for operations and contains many remarkable and surprising features.”
The cut ribbon signaled the start of the Open House. Guests were greeted by Rexy, a 22’ tall, 42’ long model of a Tyrannosaurus rex, named by patrons following a ‘naming contest’. Patrons were also wowed by the inviting open space.
“It feels like a living building now,” said Shelley Holley, Director of Frisco Public Library. “I’m delighted! It brings me joy seeing all these people come back. This is what we live for.”
The new library spans 158,068 square feet, compared to its previous facility of about 50,000 square feet. The Frisco Public Library is now the sixth largest library in Texas. Blackland Prairie inspired the architectural and interior design. From the native landscaping to interior carpet, colors, and Storytime ‘starry night sky’ lit ceiling – library décor, inside and out, is a nod to the Texas prairie.
This ‘adaptive reuse project’ converted warehouse space, built in 1998 and once housed a rocket parts factory. After the aerospace company dissolved, the Frisco Community Development Corporation (FCDC) purchased the building in 2001. The FCDC donated the space to the library in 2019 – the same year voters approved $62 million in bonds for the Frisco Public Library. To date, the ‘adaptive reuse project’ is the largest expenditure for a city facility.
“We’re proud to be part of this transformational project resulting in a one-of-a-kind library,” said Mike Barber, chairman, FCDC. “The new Frisco Public Library will be invaluable to our community for generations to come.”
Tech amenities include self-checkout by scanning; online reservation system for conference and study rooms, confirmations confirmed via text and accessed by code; and AR/VR holographic computers. There are 93 wi-fi access points, 210 computers and 77 screens (flat, touch and projection).
The Pond is for toddlers and features board books – plus décor fashioned for things you find in a pond like lily pads, turtles and fish. The Ready to Read Railroad is now stationed at Tiny Town, where children will also find a pretend veterinarian clinic, construction site and market. There’s space with teens in mind, complete with gaming and study booths.
A Community Event Room, available for rent, has seating for 300 plus cameras for video streaming. The room can also be reconfigured into three, smaller rooms – also available for rent. There are more conference and study rooms, specifically four conference rooms and 16 study rooms, all equipped with a flatscreen, sound bar and ‘smart camera’. The Makerspace is larger too, equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, computer numerical control (CNC) milling and a book publishing machine.
This is a library with a view. A second-floor terrace looks west, giving guests a view of Grand Park property.
There’s public art, too. ‘Storied Landscape’ welcomes guests as they enter. The ceiling mounted installation features 42 literary quotes by 40 authors. ‘Community of Explorers’ is a blue, decorative guard rail running the length of the building. It’s designed to portray ‘life in Frisco’ as shared by residents. Both pieces were created by New York-based Acrylicize. Frisco’s Public Art board assisted with the commission. One percent of the library’s bond budget supported the art purchase.
There are plenty of books and other materials. The library’s collection has 284,000 items; about 22 percent is digital.
“We’re thankful to Frisco voters for supporting staff’s vision by approving bonds to build this premier library. The Frisco Public Library provides a sense of pride for our entire community,” said Mayor Cheney.
The Frisco Public Library resumes regular hours Sunday, March 5. The library is open Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. For more information, go to FriscoLibrary.com