Iowa City voters approved an $18.4 million dollar bond referendum in November, 2000 for renovation and expansion of the current library building that opened in 1981. The project includes purchase of property directly to the Library's west and demolition of the building on that site. Features of the new Library building include:
- Children's Room more than doubled in size
- New area designed for Young Adults
- Expanded meeting rooms
- Growth space for collections
- Forty public access computers
- Sixteen-place computer training lab
- Three self-service checkout stations
Architects Joe Huberty and Dan Kabara, and interior designer Nicole Woods from the Milwaukee firm of Engberg Anderson, developed plans for the new library. A major design feature of the building was light. The size, shape and location of windows define the character and environment both inside and outside the building. Use of glass is intended to establish the overall image of the new building as one of openness, in keeping with the symbolism of the library's importance to a free and open society.
The connection between the community and the building is emphasized along the two main fronts of the building-on Linn Street and City Plaza. Along Linn Street the new meeting rooms are brought to a street level and provide ample natural light. On City Plaza the main entry pavilion, staircase to the greatly expanded second floor, adult seating area, and new Children's Room all face the south with excellent views in and out. The library was designed to act as a magnet, pulling people downtown at the same time the energy and vitality of the downtown area feeds into the vitality of the community's learning center.
Primary public places are kept open and flexible in order to respond will to ongoing changes in the nature of library service. Future building expansion is available in ground floor and basement space that will be temporarily leased and the new west wing is designed to add a third floor when needed.