The building of the Oil City Library is a magnificent structure and well worth renovating.  The library building consists of a 1904 Carnegie Library (16,330 square feet) and a new wing addition (14,605 square feet) in 1979.

In 2009, Struxures Architecture/Construction (Seneca, PA) completed their building evaluation of the library building, which is entitled Oil City Building Investigation & Study (publication date November, 2009, hereafter called the Study).  The cost of the Study was funded almost entirely by a grant from the Oil Regional Alliance of Business Industry and Tourism’s Route 8/62 Corridor Preservation Initiative grants. See the links below to view the schematic drawings of the Study.

The Study proposes a $2.5m renovation plan, broken into 5 progressive phases of work, for the library building, with a $51.63 per square foot cost, as opposed to $150-$175 per square foot cost for new construction. The purpose of the renovation is to improve and modernize the utilization of space within the library, upgrade the heating/air conditioning systems and electrical systems, and improve the building envelope. Keys to the building renovation are bringing back into use the second floor auditorium of the Carnegie Library and bringing into use the unfinished basement in the building wing. 

The last building renovation to the library building was done in 1979 and another renovation of the building is severely needed. The Library is now cramped and crowded, needs to address in relation to its building structure the major developments to public libraries over the last 30 years, such as the proliferation of formats (audio books, DVDs, music CDs, etc), the growth of library technology, and the creation of more social space that library users desire. All this as well as maintaining the Library’s traditional role as a resource for books, which is also burgeoning.

Progress is being made on the renovation plan with funding obtained for the following renovations, which are Phase I renovations.  In the late spring of 2011 the following renovation projects are in progress:

  • Roof Repair to the red clay tile roofing system on a large portion of the Carnegie Library was completed on August 29, 2011 at a total cost of $71,395 (see the project architect's final report on the repair).
    Funding for the repair was provided by:
    • $50,350 by the Jesse L. Peters Land Annuity Charitable Trust
    • $11,000 by the Edith C. Justus Charitable Trust
    • $22,000 by the Oil City Lirary's Endowment, administered by the Bridge Builders Community Foundations.

  • Replacement of the Central Avenue stairs at a cost of $56,500 (see photos of the work in progress).   Funding provided by:
    • $40,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.  State Senator Mary Jo White (Republican, 21st Senatorial District) helped to secure this funding.
    • $16,500 from the Oil City Library Endowment, administered by the Bridge Builders Community Foundations.

The Library has a Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund from the Commonwealth Libraries to replace the West Front Street handicapped accessible ramp entrance with an ADA compliant handicapped accessible ramp.  The amount of the grant is $115,000, which is a matching grant with the Keystone Grant providing $57,500 and the City of Oil City providing $57,500.  With the passage of time this funding has not proved enough to replace the ramp and other funding is now being sought.  The ramp replacement should be carried out in the late summer or early fall of 2011.

Proposed Basement renovation:
  Existing Basement Plan
  Proposed Basement Plan
Proposed First Floor renovation:
  Existing First Floor Plan
  Proposed First Floor Plan
Proposed Second Floor renovation:
  Existing Second Floor Plan
  Proposed Second Floor Plan

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