On December 18, 2007 the City celebrated one full year of occupancy in the new Portsmouth Public Library building at 175 Parrott Avenue.
Throughout 2007 the project team worked to finish building details and fine tune systems.
Late furnishings arrived including custom designed display systems for audio and video recordings and specially built desks for express materials checkout. City personnel and architect Tom Amsler continue to work to add to and improve details that enhance the beauty and operation of the library.
In the early days of 2007, the Levenson Community Meeting Room was outfitted with high quality sound and projection equipment. The equipment has made it possible for library staff and community groups to present many successful programs. Final furnishing of the other meeting rooms and small study rooms have added flexibility to a busy community meeting schedule.
A sophisticated public computer management and printing system was installed. Wireless access to the internet was added for personal laptop users.
Final organic landscaping was completed. City staff members worked with the landscaper and members of the Portsmouth Garden Club to choose and plant native trees and shrubs. In early spring accent plants and fully organic grassy areas were added. Hand weeding and strategic watering keep the areas looking good without overtaxing resources.
In mid-November, having information from both a cooling season and a heating season, the commissioning agents completed the final building commissioning, adjusting equipment for maximum performance and comfort.
The energy model predicted that the highly energy efficient building could operate with an energy consumption 32.8% lower than a comparable building constructed to code (electricity and natural gas). First year operations confirm this efficiency.
In August the US Green Building Council notified the City that the new Portsmouth Public Library had achieved silver level certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, making the Library the first municipal building in the state of New Hampshire to achieve LEED certification.
The Library building also won the 2007 award for excellence from the NH Association of Builders and Contractors.
Community reaction to the new library building and its operations has been tremendous with double-digit increases in visits, circulation, program attendance and informational questions answered.
As we conclude a full year of library service to the City at 175 Parrott Avenue and begin a second year, the library staff and I take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Portsmouth for their support.
Mary Ann List, Director