The Roseland neighborhood residents in the City of Santa Rosa rely heavily on its public library and community services. As the Sonoma County Library system searches for a new permanent home, community leaders were aware of the urgent need to provide these services while a permanent library is planned, designed, and built. ABA collaborated closely with Sonoma County Library staff and local architect partner Bisbee A+D to transform a former video rental store into a lively hub for library services and community engagement. As featured in the Press Democrat, the interim Roseland Library opened with much fanfare in the summer of 2021, ready to serve a vital role for a community that cherishes the many educational and social resources it offers.
More Than Books: A Community Home
Recognizing that the library is more than just a place for books, the 4,445-sq. ft. facility not only includes the expected bookstacks and information technology for access to multi-media collections, but also a feature high on Roseland’s list of needs: a flexible community room that supports various activities from classes to group meetings.
The project is successful at engaging patrons because the design tailors the library experience for each user group – adults, teens, and children – while also providing a shared opportunity for all to enjoy the benefits of life-long learning. Conceived as a home with a welcoming sense of place and human connection, the library draws on bright colors and fun patterns to spark its patrons’ imaginations – and evoke the active local Latinx culture – while the selective use of shelving and carpeted areas helps distinguish each user group’s unique area with the library’s open plan.
Additional elements addressed to successfully adapt the existing space included, among other things, an ADA-compliant building entrance to support a space inclusive of all people, Wi-Fi connectivity that serves adjacent outdoor spaces, the relocation of restrooms to allow access from the community room after library hours, and upgrades to the HVAC system– the physical conditions that support the library’s functionality as well as the comfort of patrons and staff.
It was an honor to work closely with Library staff throughout the research and development phases to program and design a space that expresses the spirit of the Roseland community. Driven by a shared dedication to providing all communities equitable access to a public library’s services and resources, ABA’s collaboration on the project with the Sonoma County Library has resulted in an essential resource whose long-awaited opening is cause for celebration by the people of the Roseland neighborhood.