Growing to serve you better.


The Elk Rapids District Library (ERDL) has been located in the historic Island House in the center of the Elk Rapids community for 70 years. It serves the community in a multitude of ways: creating educational opportunities for people of all ages, sparking creativity, serving as a gathering place for personal and social enrichment, and as an icon that enhances the appeal and charm of Elk Rapids for residents and visitors alike.

Library visitors love the location and beauty of the facility, but they want more: comfortable seating, quiet reading and work spaces, more programs and activities, better access to technology and training, a larger children’s area, a place for teens, more collaborative spaces, a bigger/better space for programs and meetings, and a broader range of materials.

As a designated Michigan Historic Site, there are unique challenges to adapting the Island House to the evolving needs of a modern public library. Working with the highly qualified combined design team of architectural firms HopkinsBurns Design Studio and Daniels and Zermack Architects, the ERDL Board has developed conceptual plans for a 6,300sf addition to the Island House Library that complements and retains its historic designation and also includes the restoration of some architectural elements of the original structure.

The $5 million capital campaign to expand and restore the historic Island House Library is an opportunity to build on the beauty and history of a community treasure and ensure the success and vitality of a valuable asset for today’s users and future generations.


Conceptual Plans for Expansion & Restoration

The Design Team of HopkinsBurns Design Studio and Daniels and Zermack Architects used community input, data from the Library’s strategic planning process, and its professional expertise and knowledge of library planning to provide specific programmatic recommendations. All of these inputs guided the development of the conceptual design for expansion and restoration.

The plans were then reviewed by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, which gave its approval saying the proposed design is consistent with the historic character, design and setting of the property and conforms to the guidance contained in the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Rehabilitation. 

The proposed Library addition is two levels aligning with the current building: a main floor and lower walkout level. Combined, the two levels are roughly 6,300sf. The plans show the addition extending from the southwest corner of the Library and connecting to the existing west wing of the building.

The main floor features a program room, adult reading area and restrooms. The lower level contains the children and teen areas, casual seating and vending area, restrooms and tutoring room. The Book Cellar will remain in the lower level and the main entrance will stay in its current location as well. The generous use of windows throughout the design allows for views of the Island House property, trees and glimpses of the bay.

The plan also calls for the restoration of several historical elements of the Island House including the parlor, the fireplace located near the front desk, and a conservatory located to the west of the porch along the face of the building.

The additional space allows for reconfiguration and modest expansion of the adult collections and the addition of comfortable seating, work stations and quiet reading areas. The children and teen areas will have similar amenities and capacity for larger collections as well. Separate computer stations are planned for the adult, children and teen areas.

Project Features at a Glance

• Modest increase in the size of print and non-print collections for adults, teens and children.

• Dedicated areas for teens and children that minimize interruption and noise for other patrons.

• Larger space for community programs.

• Increase in reader seating.

• Addition of an outdoor seating area.

• More computer stations and seating for laptop use.

• Display space for books, audio visual materials, community information.

• Group study room.

• Tutoring room.

• Improved book sale area for Friends of the Library.

• Improved and better location for public restrooms.

• Increase in staff workstations.

• Staff break room.

• Restoration of several historical elements including

the parlor, the fireplace located near the front desk,

and a conservatory located to the west of the porch

along the face of the building.

Video flyover of the proposed expansion.

Architectural rendering of the proposed library expansion as viewed from the bridge.