2007 - Present

Watertown Regional Library, 2007 to present

The renovation project began May 15, 2006, after the operating library moved to a temporary location in uptown Watertown and the bricks came down. The expansion went from an existing 15,600 square feet to a facility of 34,460 square feet. Approximately $2.5 million of existing steel and concrete remained of the original building. The new facility expanded on the north, east, and south sides at a cost of $4.7 million. Parking on the east side of the building was added, and parking on the west expanded all the way north to C Avenue. Patrons enjoy the convenience of drive-up material drops. There are two slots – one for books, and one for media (DVDs, CDs, etc). The main entrance moved to the west side, with a new address of 160 6th St. NE.

The clerestory windows above the main aisles of the library are not a second story, but rather a venue for natural light coming into the building. The patio area to the south, outside the children’s area, includes a sculpture entitled ‘Saturday’s Distractions’ of a youth and a dog, by sculptors Sherri Treeby and Lee Leuning of Bad River Artworks, Aberdeen, SD. The piece was commissioned by Alan L. Austin’s family as a memorial to him.

By the east entrance is an area for young adult patrons featuring a mural painted by Watertown teens with the assistance of artist Ann Taecker.  This area includes computers, board games, an expanding manga and graphic novel collection, as well as furnishings to encourage time in the library. There are two ‘quiet’ rooms on the north of the building, near the reference area. These rooms are for reading, study, and small meetings. The expanded Dakota Room features a special collection of materials unique to Watertown and South Dakota. The Community Room has the added features of a sink, a multi-media projector and screen, and a movable divider to double the potential use of the space and storage space for tables and chairs.

The entire facility has wireless computer access. There is a 15-station computer lab. The new shelving is user-friendly: the 2 bottom shelves are tilted up on the front, shelves are a shorter height, and the aisles are wider. DVDs and CDs are displayed face out on open shelving. The wide center aisles allow for display of traveling exhibits, and the track-lit walls can display artwork.

The children’s area has children-sized furniture, computers, play areas, rocking chairs, crayon columns, a private room for nursing mothers, and a dedicated children’s storytime room near the family restroom. The Teddy Bears’ Picnic mural, designed by Kristen Hurkes, and a 250-pound hanging rainbow created by Benchmark foam greet patrons entering the area.

The open staff workroom and circulation area facilitate streamlined processing of books, instead of the traditional shelving. The building is ADA accessible.