Shortly after its recent name change, the President Barack Obama Main Library (formerly the St. Petersburg Main Branch Library) closed its doors to the public on April 1 for a $6 million renovation. Following the renaming and dedication in February, the space will feature new programming areas, new staff areas, a parking lot with more spaces and a new back patio.
According to Mika Slaughter Nelson, MLIS Director of the St. Petersburg Library System, staff shared different ideas for redevelopment and remodeling with the mayor.
“When that many projects for one facility emerged, the mayor thought it prudent to establish these projects,” Nelson said.
The library is closed until the renovations conclude, however the inventory will move to a temporary location staffed with workers.
“Everything will have to be vacated outside of the building in order to address the various components of the construction,” Nelson said. “It’s not like we’re opening another library, but that inventory will be available to the public. So it will be able to be requested in our catalog.”
Inventory from the library is available to guests at other libraries. The guest can request inventory from the Obama library catalog and transfer it to another library location.
Nelson believes the new library will bring balance to patrons. New programming rooms will cater to those who prefer quiet, solitary work, as well as individuals who are more collaborative.
“How people utilize the library is very different than when the building was first erected,” Nelson said. “I’m looking forward to the community having spaces that work for their demands. For this current, modern society, when there’s a need for much more technology, I’m looking forward to there being that available to the community.”
Nelson said the renovations could last up to two years.
“A lot of things change when it comes to projects of these types,” Nelson said, “but the timeline right now will have us wrapping up the project late 2022, early 2023.”