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Demolition!

February 13, 2012

In case you’ve been wondering, we really are about to start remodeling work on the library. After many months of refining the scope and price of the project, we signed a contract Friday.

We should be able to keep the library open throughout the course of the work. The noisiest work—the demolition—will happen at night.

Demolition! Yes. Some you’ll see, some you won’t. Here’s what we plan to do.

In the basement of the old Carnegie building, the main meeting room will become a computer and seating area, and the smaller room beside it will become a staff office and work area.

It will involve wall repair, new lights, some doors and windows, floor work, ventilation. The old entrance to the basement, below the E Street entrance, has needed repair for years. Decades.

In the elevator, this floor is called the 2nd Floor. Beside the 2nd Floor elevator door will be what we’ve been calling a tutor room—a small meeting room for tutoring and testing. It could also accommodate many of the smaller meetings that used to be held in the meeting room.

Behind the new staff office is a little half-floor between the basement and the main level of the Carnegie library (sort of like Floor 7 ½  in the film “Being John Malkovich,” only different). It used to have the library rest rooms and magazine storage; now, it’s our local history archive.

More demolition will happen here, to remove the interior walls as well as the stairs up to the upper level, or the 4th Floor. The stairs rise beside the old library office. That office and accompanying closet will also be removed and then a floor built to cover the area taken by the stairs.

The square footage gained here will be used for more shelving—not enough to make everyone happy but enough to make a difference as we rearrange collections. The library annex that houses stuff requiring “Staff Retrieval” will not go away.

The annex is on the 1st Floor, the basement level where we’ve had book sales. We looked at building new meeting rooms down there, but it was expensive, more than the board wished to spend on this project.

This remodel project will fix some space and noise issues as we wait and see what happens with the growth of digital content such as e-books and downloadable audio and video.

Half a dozen years ago, it seemed pretty clear we’d need to build another addition to the library this year. In fact, right now we could use it. But if all our future growth is in digital content, we may not need a bigger building. We needed some changes, though, and thus, this remodeling.

The 3rd Floor is the main floor with the check-out desk. The computers will move downstairs from what was once our reference room, and that room will house the growing video collection, as well as the photocopier.

The staff offices will be changed a bit and new main desk constructed with a built-in book return, one of several changes to clear the confusion that often happens around the desk.

And we’ll build a new entrance to the children’s room and modify the window seat area for story time and the like.

There are other details, but that’s the shape of the project. It will attend to needs for space for collections, library users, and staff; to some issues with noise and traffic flow; and to some cooling and ventilating needs.

The work will be performed by LM Kersting Construction from Buena Vista. It should be fun to watch.

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