One of the things I loved most about the block I live on is that I was so close to a large public library. This library was old, brownstone, and gothic. It was a community center. Then they closed it down to renovate it. 5 years they said. It's been more, but that' what always happens. Then there was a protest about all the beautiful, old trees slated to be cut down. Most neighbors were concerned about the big or showy ones - the willow, the beeches, the larch and the cherries. While I'd miss those were they gone, I was worried about the old stand of witch hazel - they were obliterated early. No more late winter perk around the corner. I figured the old American Elm the town had been babying for decades were safe, they weren't. And finally, the construction meant street closures, construction noise, no more dog park, no more sunbathing...... Not many townsfolk were happy about the whole deal.
I love the place now and I haven't even stepped foot inside of it yet. They kept the original building (but knocked down the less-old additions to the old building). They connected the old building with a glass walkway to the new building. They sunk the parking into a cavernous garage (which will hopefully help with the daily parking crunch). The grounds are now more park-like than they were with the surface parking getting in the way. The trees (minus the witch hazel and elms) seem happy and native plants (mostly viburnum) filled in the empty places.
The best part of all is the library itself. I can't wait to get inside. It is LEED certified. It's our second or third city-built green building. The whole south side is a double walled expanse of glass. The three feet between glass panels have vents to move warm air around the four floors and louvers to block out the sun to keep the place cooler. Lights are sub-light sensitive and turn off if enough sunlight is coming into various areas. The wood work is largely bamboo, an easily renewable wood, and the products used to outfit the place are low in volatile organic compounds. They even included low-water toilets. The cherry on top is the light wood book shelves and orange plashes of paint on the walls.
Here's a link to its greenability http://www.cambridgema.gov/CPL/NewLibraryGoGreen.pdf