The design for this large, off-site storage facility and branch library involved the transformation of the existing Villa Angela Academy educational facility site which, coincidentally, Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects designed in 1969. This major retrofit relocated a select group of functions that were previously located at the Main Library in downtown Cleveland. Technical Services, Preservation, Library for the Blind, other facilities for physically impaired, and librarian training areas were included in this renovation program. As an off-site storage facility, this building houses 800,000 volumes that are efficiently transferred to the main library as needed. As a branch library, this facility now services the Collinwood and Lakeshore area residents.
The library administration communicated its with that the existing building lose its academic characteristics and acquire the appearance of a “library”. Fortunately, the open plan developed in 1969 for the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland was designed to accommodate flexible teaching which proved conducive to a library renovation. The gymnasium proved to be an ideal setting for the placement of three tiers of library shelving. The school administrative offices became the location for technical services and the school library now accommodates library administration and training program. A new addition became the new branch library. Great effort was made to select furniture that reflected the various functions of the building such as technical service, office facilities, and the branch library as a reading and conference area. Independent entrances were organized for specific functions. The branch library has its own identity independent of staff entrances.