Renovation News

June 1, 2023 update:

Our move back to our permanent home at 6701 Delmar is fast approaching! Over the past month, our staff and a team of movers have moved books and shelves from our primary storage facility in the former University United Methodist Church back into the permanent library building, as the construction team finishes up the bulk of their work. While we’re applying for permits and waiting on a few things outside our control (such as new basement doors and replacements for the shelving that was lost in the flooded basement in February), we’re hoping to be back home by the end of the month!

When we get back, however, there will still be some work to be done. We’ll be operating without an elevator until the fall, as the old one was destroyed in the flood, and we’ll still need to install the new shelves and walls for the first floor small meeting rooms. We’ll also still be working on bringing items out of storage and replacing the books that were lost in the flood, so please excuse any empty shelves you see.

Thank you for your patience and support throughout this project. We can’t wait to share the new space with everyone!

March 2023 update:

On the morning of Friday, Feb. 10, our permanent location at 6701 Delmar Blvd. experienced a water main break, which allowed more than 100,000 gallons of water into the basement of the building (see top right photo). The flooding damaged the newly installed transformer, water pumps, boilers, and basement drywall, and also impacted the elevator. Unfortunately, we had also stored more than 40,000 books in the basement, on our new compact shelving. Thanks to a quick response from our contractor, Raineiri, Woodard Cleaning and Restoration was able to pump water out of the basement and pump in dry air, allowing us to save more than 30,000 of the books stored in the basement. However, the compact shelving will have to be replaced, as will much of our permanent shelving, which was being stored in the basement, awaiting installation upstairs.

The good news is that none of the first or second floor renovations were impacted, which means that those areas are still on track to finish in late March. Above, you can see photos of the new carpet in Youth Services (top center, and bottom photo) and a new light fixture in the southern side stairwell (top left).

That said, we are still talking with our insurance company and various subcontractors to determine when we’ll be able to move back into our permanent home. At the moment, we will likely remain at 6900 Delmar for another couple of months, through at least mid-May. When we learn more, we will post updates here, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

February 2023 update:

Renovation of our permanent building is chugging right along! The basement — which houses our IT department, building services, and storage space for both UCPL and the Historical Society of University City — is complete, and our movers are preparing to move items back into that area. The rest of the library is due for completion in late March, and we’ll hopefully be able to welcome everyone back into the building soon after.

You can see from the photos above that the second floor is getting some finishing touches while the first floor waits for its turn (bottom left). The entrance to the Gallery is getting its ceiling finished bottom right), while the second floor adult area (top left) and teen area (top right) have their ceilings and lights already installed. The bathroom in the Gallery (top middle) is nearly complete, with just a sink, a toilet, and a hand dryer left for installation. For more information and updates, find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

December 2022 update:

Since our last update, some major work has been accomplished at 6701 Delmar! Contractors have finished work on the library basement, which will allow us to start moving some storage materials and non-public items over to the building soon. Just before Thanksgiving, the new parking lot was finished, after regrading and re-striping (bottom photo). In the photos below, you’ll see the view of the gallery and upstairs meeting rooms (top right), which are still awaiting finishing and a drop ceiling. Also pictured are the beginnings of the new laptop bar and copy station (top left) and tile that is being installed in the gallery bathrooms (top center). Next up, contractors will be putting up the walls for the new first-floor meeting rooms, continuing to paint, and beginning to install fixtures throughout the building.

September 2022 update:

After some unexpected electrical issues due to this summer’s storms, construction at our permanent location is chugging right along. Our contractor, Rainieri Construction, has most walls framed out and is working on putting in new wiring, plumbing, and HVAC ductwork for our new and renovated spaces. Construction is still on track to finish in March 2023, and we look forward to welcoming the community back to 6701 Delmar soon after! Check out the photos below to see the progress.

July 2022 update:

Rainieri Construction is starting to frame out walls and create new spaces at 6701 Delmar! We hope to be able to move back into the building in March 2023. Check out some recent photos below.

May 2022 update:

After a delay of almost seven months, the mullions for the corner windows have finally been manufactured, shipped, and installed! With that piece done, all exterior work (aside from a few minor touch-ups) is finished. Interior demolition also experienced a few delays, thanks to a few problem areas, but should be complete within a week or two. The old boiler is now out, the walls for the first-floor bathrooms have been completely removed, and all of the old duct work throughout the building is gone. Once the contractors remove the brick flooring between the two main doors, and finish removing the old HVAC equipment, they’ll be ready to move onto the installation and rebuilding phase of the project.

March 2022 update:

Rainieri Construction is finishing up the demolition phase of the project, and will soon be starting the construction phase. Rainieri was awarded the construction contract at the UCPL Board of Trustees meeting in early February. Check out the photos below to see what’s going on at 6701 Delmar!

January 2022 update:

As we begin a new year, it’s a good time to check in and see where we are with our Library renovation. In 2021, contractor R.G. Ross carried out most of the exterior renovations, including repairing the brick and stonework, sealing the building to prevent leaks, and replacing most of the windows (the last four are tentatively scheduled for replacement in March, due to supply chain issues).

Additionally, UCPL staff and movers cleared out the permanent location at 6701 Delmar, preparing for the demolition phase of the renovation project, and set up shop temporarily at 6900 Delmar. (Our storage and staff office location throughout renovation is at University United Methodist Church.) We anticipate remaining in these temporary locations through late fall of 2022.

So what’s on the menu for 2022? Well, a LOT:

  • Hazardous materials abatement is scheduled to begin early this month. Raineri Construction will then begin removing the ceilings, the lights, the electrical panels, and the HVAC system in preparation for installation of new systems. The Library Board of Trustees awarded the demolition contract to Raineri in November.
  • The contract for the interior construction goes out to bid on Jan. 12, and the Library Board is planning to choose a contractor at its Feb. 9 meeting. Our hope is that the interior renovation will start later that month.
  • Meanwhile, UCPL staff members continue to work with Bond Architects to plan interior finishes and features, including new carpet, lighting, furniture, and more. That said, we’re doing our best to respect the mid-century feel of the building’s architecture, and maintain the many features our patrons have come to know and love (the bathtubs won’t be going anywhere!).
  • In late 2022, those interior elements will be installed and we’ll move back in! We can’t wait to show everyone the new and improved space!

December 2021 update:

The first of many new windows to be installed.

Just in time for the chilly days of winter, our building at 6701 Delmar is getting new windows and doors! These new windows are more energy efficient and will be much easier to fix and replace, should they get damaged at some point in the future. Check out the photos above to see what’s going on.

In other renovation news, at its November board meeting, the Library Board of Trustees awarded the contract for the next portion of the renovation project, which will include removal of the ceilings, the lights, the electrical panels, and the HVAC system, as well as hazardous materials abatement, in preparation for installation of new systems. Our hope is that the renovation itself will start in February 2022.

Meanwhile, Library staff are working frantically at our temporary storage location (University United Methodist Church, which is next door to our temporary public location) to unpack and organize the 188,000 items in our collection so that they are once again available to place on hold and borrow. As of this posting (Dec. 3), biographies, science fiction books, mysteries, large print books, DVDs, audiobooks, graphic novels, and our youth services collections are available for request from our storage location, but more segments of our collection are being made available every day.

November 2021 update:

UCPL has been operating out of our temporary location at 6900 Delmar for over a month now, and those who have visited us already are using computers, printers, and the fax machine, as well as browsing a portion of our  collection. We’re still working on getting a temporary exterior book return set up at 6900 Delmar, which will hopefully happen later this month. Until then, items can be returned inside at 6900 Delmar, or in either book return at 6701 Delmar.

     Back at 6701 Delmar, Library staff and professional movers are emptying the building and shifting our shelving and the bulk of our 188,000 items to our temporary storage location at University United Methodist Church, which is next door to our temporary public location. Throughout November, we’ll be working on unpacking and organizing our collection so that those items can once again be available to place on hold and borrow (if you’ve visited 6900 Delmar you’ll know that we only have room for about 15% of our collection there and available for browsing during the renovation process).

     To place items on hold and access all of our storage items, you check out our new app — search for “MLC Libraries” in your phone’s app store. Of course, you can always call our reference staff at 314-727-3150.

     Meanwhile, exterior work on the building at 6701 Delmar is wrapping up, and installation of the large windows and public entry doors is due to happen later this month. While initially scheduled for earlier in the fall, the window replacement was delayed due to shipping issues with the window frames. Now that they have arrived, we’re excited to see the new windows and doors installed!

     At their November board meeting, the Library Board of Trustees plan to award the contract for the next portion of the renovation project, which will include removal of the ceilings, the lights, the electrical panels, and the HVAC system, as well as hazardous materials abatement, in preparation for installation of new systems. Our hope is that the renovation itself will start in February 2022.

September 2021 update:

6900 Delmar Blvd.

University City Public Library will close our building at 6701 Delmar Blvd. on Monday, Sept. 20 in preparation for our interior renovation. Library services will be unavailable between September 20 and 23, as staff members move to our temporary location at 6900 Delmar Blvd. Library services will resume at the temporary location on Friday, Sept. 24. All items that currently have a due date of Sept. 20-23 will now be due on Sept. 24. Items can still be returned in the book drops at 6701 Delmar.

     During the renovation, patrons will be able to pick up holds, return books, and use computers, as well as browse a small portion of the Library’s collection, at 6900 Delmar, pictured above. The rest of the items in the UCPL collection will be moved into off-site storage, where they will be accessible through placing holds. Library services will shift back to the permanent location in mid-2022, when renovation is complete.

     “We’re excited to be moving forward in our renovation project, and we can’t wait to share our updated building with the community,” said UCPL Director Patrick Wall. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we make this shift, and in the coming months.”

Parking is available in the areas marked in red on the map below. Entrances are at the stars; the pink star denotes our wheelchair- and stroller-accessible entrance.

overhead map of 6900 delmar

June 2021 update:

In a special meeting June 16, UCPL’s Board of Trustees chose R.G. Ross Construction Company to carry out the exterior renovations for the Library. Included in this phase of renovation are the following projects:

  • replacing the large windows;
  • replacing the main entry doors and surrounding glass;
  • repairing the exterior brick and stonework; and
  • sealing the building to prevent leaks.

     UCPL services will continue at our current location during the exterior work, largely uninterrupted, though temporary access issues will be posted on the website and social media, as well as in the building. Meanwhile, UCPL staff members are moving some items to storage and preparing to temporarily move public services to 6900 Delmar, across the street and just west of the lion gate. For the duration of interior construction, that location will serve as your place to pick up holds, return books, and use computers, as well as browse a small portion of our collection. The rest of the items in the UCPL collection will be moved into off-site storage, where they will be accessible through placing holds.

March 2021 update:

Compact shelving was installed in the basement in January 2021, and UCPL staff members have moved the storage materials back into that area. Additional materials will be moved to the compact shelving in the coming months, as the Library prepares for additional interior renovation projects. In the meantime, at its March 2021 meeting, the UCPL Board of Trustees approved a contract to begin work on exterior projects, including resealing and tuck-pointing exterior walls and replacing the main doors.

October 2020 update:

While COVID-19 has definitely impacted renovation plans for the Library, we’re still moving forward with what projects we can. Over the summer, UCPL staff members emptied out a section of the basement, moving the storage books into the auditorium and second floor staff room, to make way for compact shelving, which will be installed in the basement later this fall. The image below shows a rendering of the compact shelving, which has movable shelves allowing for up to 43,000 books to be stored in that area.

Additionally, Library administrators will be moving forward with replacing our problematic doors. Library administration had also planned on tackling the first floor public restrooms in the first phase of renovation. However, additional consultation with our architect and contractors revealed that to be a much more complicated endeavor, involving replacing electrical panels and plumbing, which would put much of the building out of commission. The public restrooms remain a priority though, and we are continuing to work with them on potential solutions to this problem.

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Renovation Plans

What professional assistance has the library obtained to develop the renovation plan?
Library administrators are working with Bond Architects, who have presented a preliminary renovation plan. We are currently working to incorporate modification suggestions made by the City of University City into Bond’s plan. Cost estimates will be included in the final plan.

When will work begin?
Our initial plan was to finish working up a renovation plan in 2019 and put out a request for proposals for construction companies in early 2020. As 2020 began, we ran into a few unforseen complexities during conversations with the city that we were trying to iron out, planning instead for a fall 2020 start date.

However, as with so many other things scheduled to take place in 2020, COVID-19  delayed our renovation dates. The March 2020 shutdown, as well as the fluctuating economy, have further delayed the renovation project. We are currently talking to Bond Architects about our priorities and to our financial advisors to discuss options for phased construction. Highest on our list of priorities are renovating the public bathrooms, fixing our often-malfunctioning doors, and installing compact shelving in our basement. However, as we’ve seen over the past several months, things can always change. We thank you for your patience with this project, and we hope to provide additional updates soon.

What renovations will be completed?
Update bathrooms for ADA and code compliance
Replace heating and air conditioning systems to increase energy efficiency
Update & upgrade lighting
Remove or abate hazardous materials
Replace plumbing systems
Install new electrical distribution
Tuck-point exterior walls
Replace and re-seal windows
Replace carpeting throughout the Library
Update telephone, voice & data, and alarm systems

Will the Library be closed during renovation?
We had hoped to be able to keep part of the building open during construction, but unfortunately, that won’t be possible. We are currently looking at options for storing Library materials off-site, as well as continuing to serve the public from another University City location during construction. No matter what, UCPL patrons will still be able to get their items and participate in Library programs during construction!

How will the renovation help fix the overcrowding problems in the University City Public Library building?
A renovation would include reconfiguring the basement level and repurposing underutilized spaces, including installing compact shelving. This type of shelving will allow us to better utilize storage space in the basement and allow us to keep more library materials on hand. The renovation would also include a redesign of the interior space and appointments, allowing for better service to the public and improved efficiency of staff.

Will parking spaces be added?
No land will be purchased with proceeds from the tax increase. However, reconfiguration of the parking lot has the potential to add a few parking spaces and the parking lot will be re-graded to make the entrance ADA compliant.

Will the exterior of the building be changed?
No exterior changes are planned. Any exterior changes would require approval of the University City Historic Preservation Commission. That said, the renovation will involve fixing some exterior elements, including tuck-pointing of the brick and repairing cracks in the foundation. The majority of the funds will be spent to renovate and improve the interior space.

Will the public have a chance to weigh in on the building renovations?
Absolutely! The Library will host several open meetings at which members of the public will be invited to offer their opinions on renovations. Keep an eye on this page, on our Facebook page, and on Checkout, our monthly newsletter, for more information on when these meetings will be happening.

With people using laptops, smart phones, and computers at home, why does the Library need so many computers?
Some patrons have no computer; some have no Internet access; others utilize the UCPL computers for high-speed access. Many companies as well as the State of Missouri require job applications be filled out online. The 28 public access computers at UCPL are available for people who need Internet, printing, and software that is available at the Library. As a community service, the Library also offers free computer classes to those who wish to learn skills or learn additional skills.

Why does the library use so much space for things other than books?
The University City Public Library is dedicated to providing lifelong learning and entertainment opportunities for its patrons. This means providing a wide range of educational and entertaining items, including DVDs, computers, audiobooks, music CDs, video cameras, and telescopes, as well as books. Additionally, the Library is a community center, with many meetings taking place in our auditorium and meeting rooms.

What is Proposition L?
Proposition L is a ballot measure that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters of University City on April 2, 2019. This proposition asked the voters of the University City Public Library District for an increase of twelve cents ($0.12) per $100 of assessed valuation over the previous property tax levy for the purposes of renovating, improving, operating, and maintaining University City Public Library facilities, and for improving Library services. This increase is being spent on building renovations and maintenance, as well as supporting existing and future Library services.

What is the size of the collection at the University City Public Library?
As of December 2019 the University City Public Library collection has more than 270,000 items, including books, audio books, music CDs, DVDs, and magazines.

How many items are checked out of the University City Public Library?
In fiscal year 2018 (July 2017 through June 2018), the total circulation of library materials, including downloadable e-books and audiobooks, was 371,658, an increase of 3.4% over the previous year. This recent circulation represents an increase of 37% since 1990, the last time voters approved a tax increase.

How many people use the University City Public Library?
Over 192,000 people visited University City Public Library during fiscal year 2018, and there were another 427,732 virtual visits to the UCPL website and online catalog. The Library has more than 42,000 registered users, a number that does not include cardholders from the other member libraries of the Municipal Library Consortium. The Library’s public access computers were used 41,640 times; there were 48,632 wireless internet sessions; and the auditorium and small meeting rooms were used 2,464 times during fiscal year 2018.

Renovation documents