Renovation News

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