This spring, the City of Madison authorized Joseph Lee & Associates, LLC, to provide architectural, engineering design and construction administration services for the Imagination Center at Reindahl Park, which will be located near the intersection of East Washington Avenue and Portage Road on the city’s northeast side.

Nearly five years ago, the library began a two-years-long planning process that identified the northeast side as an area in need of a public library. A scoping study led by Library Planner Kevin Englebert and completed in March 2020 provides a detailed report following 112 conversations by library staff and 425 community members of different ages, experiences and backgrounds. Based on the discussions, Madison Public Library is calling the new library and transformational space the “Imagination Center” because it didn’t want to limit what kinds of resources it may provide, which could include child care, a community kitchen, outdoor seating and program areas, and more.

Participants in the library-led conversations expressed the need for a “civic anchor” facility where community members can gather, learn, interact and express themselves culturally. The center also will encourage holistic health and expand economic opportunities for library visitors via workforce development skills and robust technology infrastructure.

Because the area’s residents include a significant number of immigrants and youth, transportation was an important consideration. The Imagination Center will be located next to a planned Madison Metro Bus Rapid Transit stop. 

Design sessions and additional community engagement around the project will begin this summer under the direction of new Library Planner Rynn Kerkhove, in cooperation with the City of Madison Parks Department. Kerkhove, a former planner for the City of Omaha, Nebraska, was hired in May. Visit for more information.

The City of Madison allotted funds for design of the Imagination Center in its 2022-23 budget cycle. Construction will be funded with a combination of public dollars and private donations secured by Madison Public Library Foundation.

To learn more about private funding of the Imagination Center, contact foundation Executive Director Jenni Jeffress at 608.266.6318.