Latest Look for Library Gate Would Be Against City Code
Officials are deciding on a quote to use as a design element after “Clearwater Public Library” was rejected because it would be considered advertising and run afoul of the city’s stringent sign code.
Atop the fence is a sweeping arch slightly mimicking the signature style of the Main Library.
The biggest question mark on the latest renderings of a gate around the entrance to the Main Library, though, are the words welcoming visitors: “Clearwater Public Library," members of the city’s Public Arts and Design Advisory Board recently learned.
Under the city’s stringent sign code, "Clearwater Public Library" is considered advertising. Library officials are considering using an Andrew Carnegie quote to replace the banned words.
“We can put text up there,” said Felicia Leonard, who is a liaison between the volunteer board and the city. “It just can’t say what it is.”
The plan to enhance the courtyard area would create an appealing vision for patrons entering the library, officials have said. Artistic elements, including a courtyard gallery to showcase touring art pieces, similar to the 360 Sculpture program along Cleveland Street, would be within the perimeter of the fence entry.
The plan to enhance the courtyard with art and a fence would also keep the homeless from sleeping in front of the building when it is closed. A similar style fence would be added around the west terrace as well.
City leaders rejected the $72,000 project in April saying the design was too spartan and cold. They sent the design back for changes, increasing the budget for the project as well.
Clearwater’s first library was built from an endowment by Carnegie in 1916.
Barbara Pickell, director of the Clearwater Public Library System, came to hear what board members said about the latest fence design and to let them know what quotes are under consideration.
“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration,” Carnegie said.
A shorter, more likely quote is not from Carnegie however:
“Libraries are not made, they grow,” by Augustine Birrell.
Board member Roberta Klar questioned the lack of design choices. She said the design was too traditional for such a modern looking building.
The current Main Library building was designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern. He has not been consulted on designs because of costs for his services.
Members of the arts board agreed that the arch should more effectively mimic the look of the building and passed a motion to continue redesign efforts for the library gate and courtyard concept.
“It really looks like that was the idea,” Klar said.