Future plans for Wichita’s central library are being discussed throughout this week as part of a 5-day design summit. Architectural consultants began presenting their ideas on Monday morning.
The design summit itself cost roughly $500,000. It was approved last month by the Wichita City Council, where there were no mincing of words; the Central Library needs significant improvements if it wants to be a center for technology and education. The concepts presented on Monday included interactive touch screens and maps, large classrooms and conference rooms and even a robotic system that stores books out of the way, and brings them to you on request. But the big question is, is any of this feasible?
“I think what we’re looking at today is really realistic,” City Manager Robert Layton says. “The price of technology has come down significantly - and it’s doable and it’s the way people learn. So for us to be relevant, we have to be looking at the use of advanced technology.”
Whether a new building will be constructed - or the old one renovated - is still up in the air, as are cost estimates for the project. Layton says these presentations are a chance for the public to express what they want in a new library.
Below is the remaining design summit schedule:
. Tuesday, June 10, 5-7 p.m. at Wichita Central Library auditorium
· Wednesday, June 11, 11 a.m. – noon and 4:30 to 5 p.m.; GLMV Architecture, 1525 E Douglas
· Thursday, June 12, 11 a.m. – noon and 4 to 5 p.m.; GLMV Architecture
· Friday, June 13, 1 – 3 p.m.; GLMV Architecture