Library renovations involve multiple parties at the school, district and city level that are often not in synch. The librarian role will be to make sure the vision is consistent with current library design principles.
Before any meetings at the school level with representatives from the School Construction Authority (SCA) and/or contractors, review the infrastructure page of the NYC School Librarian Guidebook and contact Mellissa Jacobs, director NYC School Library System, to schedule a walkthrough.
Resolution A (Reso A) projects are school-specific capital improvement or enhancement projects that are funded by individual grants from the Borough Presidents or members of the New York City Council. These projects are very important to the school community because they help the Department of Education to enhance school facilities. Once a Borough President or City Council Member decides to designate a grant, the School Construction Authority (SCA) is responsible for scoping out the project and overseeing the design and construction.
Resolution-A monies are awarded through Borough Presidents offices or NYC Council Members. You will need to submit a list of each specific request for the library upgrade, along with the approximate cost for these upgrades.
City council members and borough presidents have discretionary funds that principals can apply for to improve their schools. Many NYC school libraries have benefited from these monies. Library renovations from infrastructure to paint, technology improvement and new furniture top the list of items requested most. To apply for City Council Discretionary Funds school principals should contact the district council member. A portion of the capital funds from the borough presidents’ offices may be used for a one-time large purchase of library materials.
Please check with your borough president.
While Reso A applications become available in January, it's a good idea to start contacting your representatives early in the school year. Reso A funding is made by folks who serve our communities as elected officials. It's useful to take time to research the potential grantor's background.
In order for a renovation to be successful it is imperative that the librarian and a representative from the Office of Library Services attend all meetings or is informed of progress at each phase of development (contact director Mellissa Jacobs, for Office of Library Services representation).
It is much easier to get the design elements correct at the beginning than to try to make corrections after construction has begun. These consultations are free of charge. Each phase of the project will require authorization from SCA's Office of Capital Planning before proceeding.
Scope Phase - The initial "kick-off" meeting with architects, building staff, School Construction Authority (SCA) personnel, Department of School Facilities (DSF) personnel, borough space planners and other interested parties provides an overview of the process and discusses the project components. The designer's project related findings and recommendations are documented and a summary report issued.
Design Phase - Designers prepare construction drawings and specifications for Bid and Award. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers or other design professionals are brought into the discussion. This is when revisions are made. Careful scrutiny of all elements is crucial. You will be advised if any items in the original Scope of Work need revision or are disallowed.
Bid/Award Phase - Contractors bid on the project and a decision is made regarding the contract award.
Construction Phase - Once this phase begins the approved construction drawings and technical specifications may not be altered. Necessary permits are obtained before construction can begin.
- Rebecca P. Butler, School Libraries 3.0: Principles and Practices for the Digital Age
Robin Sue Ward School for Exceptional Children