“We will make every attempt to disrupt normal operations as little as possible for the approximately 300 people a day who visit the library,” said Kettells, “and, of course, many more when our northern friends are back in town.”
With construction set to begin in early February, the library will move to a temporary location at 7470 Gulf Blvd. while its current 8,200-square-foot home undergoes $1.5 million worth of improvements to the roof and interior.
“All materials will be housed in the temporary location so patrons will have access to their favorite books, movies and music,” Kettells said, “though some of the material will be retrieved for them by staff since not all the stacks will be open to the public due to space constraints.”
But materials are only part of what the library branch offers the community, and administrators are taking steps to ensure all services will still be available at the new location or close by. Due to lack of space, some of the branch’s fun and informative programs will have to go on temporary hiatus, but crucial services such as S.H.I.N.E Medicare counseling and AARP Tax Aide will be offered in alternate locations within the city.
The current library building, built in 1969 and partly refurbished in 1995, is due for upgrades inside and out. While the roof renovation is the most critical part of the work to be done, there will also be a large range of aesthetic improvements done to the interior. When asked about improvements patrons will most appreciate once the work is done, Kettells said, “New furniture, carpet and entrance flooring, paint and lighting will be just some of the features that will enhance the library experience when we reopen.”
The library website, SPBLibrary.com, will have up-to-date information and the city’s public information office will be helping get the word out when once the branch is ready to move.