‘Night and Day’

The changes to EVPL McCollough create a modernized, inviting space.

The first renovation from the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library’s 2022 Master Plan – the overhaul of its 59-year-old McCollough branch at 5115 Washington Ave. – is complete. McCollough reopened on June 5 after 10 months of renovations.

Photo from Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library’s McCollough branch renovations provided by Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library

“It looks night-and-day different,” says Claire Winternheimer, McCollough’s location manager. “It’s a completely new color scheme and much of the layout changed, so it’s going to be a lot different from what people had seen before.”

The project was completed on time, had a proposed budget of $4 million, and there were no major changes to the original renovation plan. While the space was being renovated, the library made its temporary home nearby at Washington Square Mall, 4800 Washington Ave., which hosted all the branch’s programming and held about half of the materials collection from Aug. 1, 2023, until May 18. The last time McCollough underwent renovations was in 2006.

McCollough now boasts a revamped floor plan, new furniture, and a refreshed color scheme and look. Indianapolis-based MKM Architecture + Design Inc.’s plans, brought to fruition by Evansville general contractor Danco Construction Inc., inserted updated lighting and colorful furniture, plus new carpeting.

McCullough library reopening in Evansville, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Photo of the adult and young adult sections by Adin Parks

The adult and young adult sections have updated seating and a combined reference and circulation service desk – the two used to be on separate sides of the library. Four new small group meeting rooms which will allow guests to connect to computers via an HDMI cable.

“Before we were in our temporary location, we only had one small group room, and it was in high demand. So, we knew we needed to expand on that,” Winternheimer says.

Most visitors will enter from the east end of the building, near new outdoor seating areas. Inside, the children’s area is to the left. To the right is the new meeting room, then the adult and young adult sections. The large meeting room has moved to the front of the building to access more natural light and has updated technology like electronically retractable blinds. Across from the meeting room is a digital mural called “Bookshelf” by local artist Spence Farmer, a local artist and instructional designer at the University of Southern Indiana.

McCullough library reopening in Evansville, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Photo of the digital media piece “Bookshelf” by Spence Farmer by Adin Parks

“We wanted something that would welcome people to this space,” Winternheimer says.

Children get the most colorful area in the renovated space, which has moved to the southeast part of the building and has toys and in-wall octagon seating, along with a separate reference desk.

“We wanted to reinvigorate the space to welcome families and young children, and kids of all ages,” Winternheimer says.

An updated activity room will host many of the library’s classes and programming. Next door is a new sensory room with soundproofing, technology, and manipulative tools for those who need them. There are a few pieces of lighting and equipment that need to come in, but otherwise, the space is ready for the public.

“It’s pretty much ready to go, (it’s) just final touches that are happening,” Winternheimer says.

“Shared interests, that’s what it’s about,” she adds. “This is where people come to connect on that level – whether it is literature, movies, or various community efforts, the library is a place for that. So, I think we’ll see a lot of that here.”

Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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