November 16, 2017

Branching Out, October 2016

East Waco Library, TX Photo courtesy of KWTX

East Waco Library, TX
Photo courtesy of KWTX

The newly renovated East Waco Library, TX (pictured), reopened on September 17, following nearly 18 months of construction. A member of the Waco-McLennan County Libraries, the 7,000 square foot facility is the final spoke in the four-branch system’s wheel to be upgraded. The $1.3 million project includes new computer stations, additional study rooms, more conference areas, new walls, and fresh paint. The branch gained 40 percent more usable space during the remodel, which will go toward programming, story times, and “parent literacy,” according to KWTX. The work was funded through private donations in addition to the City of Waco.

The 115-year-old main branch of the Jersey City Free Public Library, which closed nearly a year ago for a $15 million renovation, reopened September 6 following the end of Phase 1. Work on the 82,656 square foot structure was divided into three segments, with construction—roughly 40 percent—now complete. It involved elevator replacement, new plumbing, the installation of a handicap-accessible entrance, and the rehabilitation of the basement, damaged in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy. The remodel, infrastructure, and restoration activities will begin shortly. Some asbestos removal is still to be tackled, according to NJ.com, with those areas remaining closed. The entire effort is expected to be finished by December 2017.

The Natural Bridge Branch of St. Louis County Library reopened on September 14 following an eight-month renovation. The 15,900 square foot facility was part of the city’s Your Library Renewed Campaign, a tax initiative approved in 2012. The $3.1 million project, designed by Bond Architects, includes the addition of an after-hours computer lab through a $75,000 donation from Emerson; the branch has 53 computers accessible to the public. Another amenity is a Cardinals-themed children’s space. A donation from playwright and screenwriter Beau Willimon, creator of the Netflix series House of Cards, was used to upgrade one of the library’s two community rooms. Two additional projects soon to wrap up will complete Phase 1 of the renewal campaign.

Another branch on the Columbus Metropolitan Library, OH, aspirational building tree burst into bloom on September 24 with the opening of the renovated and expanded Northern Lights library. The 1993, 11,881 square foot facility now measures more than 26,000 square feet and houses a preschoolers’ preparatory area, an interactive children’s space, a dedicated teen area, a learning lab, a homework help center, three meeting rooms, a quiet reading room with fish tank, five study rooms, a drive-up window, and 107 parking spots.

This article was published in Library Journal's October 15, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Celebrating her 43rd year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ’s Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews.

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