After a three-year, 53-million-dollar renovation, the Tulsa Central Library on 5th and Denver officially reopened in October 2016. With new features like a 3D printing lab, recording studios and a children’s play area, the central library location offers entertainment to every facet of Tulsa society.
In 2013, construction crews broke ground on a gut renovation of the 50-year-old building, outfitting it with technological advancements better qualified for the library’s modern visitor.
“Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, a Minneapolis architecture rm, led the project,” said Buddy Ingalls, Central Library Manager. “The award-winning architecture and interior design rm has specific expertise with libraries.”
The Central Library has not received a significant remodel since its conception in 1965, and mechanical and electrical components had far surpassed their life expectancies when the renovation began in 2011.
“The entire project took 5 years. e Central Library was closed for just over three years, from Fall 2013- Fall 2016,” said Ingalls. “During the period Central was closed, the library opened the Librarium at 12th and Denver to ensure library access in the downtown area. The Librarium was also used as a “test kitchen” to try out the latest in new library services, technology and equipment.”
The new space features 16 meeting places, ranging from private study rooms to the 200-seat Aaronson auditorium and a Children’s Storytime Meeting room where different children’s workshops are held daily.
“This area is designed to inspire creativity and early learning through play,” said Ingalls. “Each piece in this area has educational aspects built into it, for instance, the world map made entirely of coins from around the world.”
The children’s area also features three play towers with early language, science, and gardening/ cooking.
There is also an early childhood baby nook featuring tactile play and books for parents on early childhood subjects.
To encourage STEM play, a magnet wall with tubes for creating ball runs is hung in the children’s area.
“Books that are displayed with children in mind. Children’s books are stored not on shelves, but in bins that are at a child’s height and allow for flipping through and looking at covers rather than book spines,” said Ingalls.
The library also features a computer area for families with two early literacy computers, or AWE Stations, that are pre-loaded with early child- hood educational games and activates
There are also new spaces in the Central Library enabling visitors to experiment with different technologies.
“The Digital Literacy Lab is an ex- citing new space at Central Library,” said Ingalls. “The Lab offers our customers access to a variety of equipment and so ware, both creative and technical. Our lab has something for everyone – illustrator and drawing tablets for aspiring artists, digitization tools for our customers interest- ed in preserving family home videos or photographs, and so much more. We o er classes in a variety of topics like computer coding, Photoshop, and website development.”
Among other enhancements, the Central Library has teamed up with Starbucks in order to provide their visitors with coffee inside the library, as well as an indoor patio and seating.
“We’re actually the first public library in the nation to have a Starbucks in its library,” said Ingalls. “This has been a great partnership. Customers- and library staff enjoy having Starbucks on site. Starbucks is very popular and has helped bring attention to the new Central Library.”
Students can get a free library card by using their CPO address. Library access includes thousands of books, ebooks and special learning programs such as Mango and Lynda.com. Apply for a card online or in person. Tulsa Library cards can be used at any library location in Tulsa County.
The Tulsa Central Library is open from 9a.m. to 9p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9a.m.-6p.m. Fridays, 9a.m.- 5p.m. Saturdays and 1p.m.-5p.m. Sun- days.