Central Pasco library branch to close for renovations

Tri-City HeraldOctober 10, 2013 

Pasco Library Desk

Employee Jennifer Pruiett checks in library materials Thursday at the Pasco branch of the Mid-Columbia Libraries. The library will shut down Thanksgiving day and reopen Jan. 2 for a $140,000 remodeling and updating of the 13,000-square-foot building.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Nanette Danley of Pasco likes the convenience of the central library branch near Memorial Park and how it is accessible from a bus line.

But she does agree with Mid-Columbia Libraries’ decision to renovate the facility built in the 1960s.

“This needs updating,” she said.

But closing it for a month?

“I don’t like to hear that,” said Danley, 45. “I hate to hear that.”

The library will shut down Thanksgiving day and reopen Jan. 2 while Mid-Columbia Libraries puts $140,000 worth of improvements into the 13,000-square-foot building. The city of Pasco, which owns the building, is kicking in $15,000 for a new outside sign and exterior paint job.

The renovation means the library district will have invested more than $600,000 this year in Pasco, said Kyle Cox, Mid-Columbia Libraries executive director. The district spent more than $500,000 on new books and furnishing the new west Pasco branch, which opened in April. The new library is leased from a developer.

Mid-Columbia Libraries was able to be involved with the design of the building for the west Pasco library. Cox said that, even though there are limitations to what the library district can do at the building at 1320 W. Hopkins St., it will be able to make significant improvements at the older facility, which last received an upgrade in 2009.

“We can’t move support posts and beams, we just can’t, but it is going to be more comfortable,” he said.

Changes will include more electronic outlets for users to plug in electronic devices.

That’s good news for Zakiya Pruitt, 15, of Pasco.

“Sometimes the outlets are too far away to plug in,” she said.

The furniture will be replaced in both the children’s and adult areas of the library, Cox said. The wooden book shelves will be removed and replaced with metal shelving. The interior of the building also will be painted, giving it a consistent look throughout.

“It’s really going to open it up,” Cox said.

The central Pasco branch is known for its large selection of Spanish language books, as well as bilingual storytime for children, said Jennifer Aalgaard, spokeswoman for Mid-Columbia Libraries.

Its also the fourth busiest of Mid-Columbia’s 12 fixed branches and will have an extended closure not just because of the work that will be done, but because it will take time to remove and return all the books, Cox said. Some new books are expected to be brought in when the old ones come back.

Some of the central library’s 11 staff members will work at the west Pasco branch during the closure, while others do “behind the scenes” work at the central library, Aalgaard said.

The west Pasco branch will extend its hours to try to make up for the closure. Cox said Mid-Columbia Libraries’ bookmobile also will make regular visits to the area.

Still, central Pasco branch manager Jessie Kane admits that won’t help everybody.

“At this branch they have such high use of the computers,” she said. “They’re going to feel it, because they aren’t going to get it from the bookmobile.”

The remodel is the first of several planned for Mid-Columbia Libraries, Cox said.

Next up will be a complete gutting and remodel of the Prosser library in 2014.

The Connell and Othello libraries also will see improvements next year. The Union Street and Keewaydin Park branches in Kennewick are expected to be remodeled in 2015.

Extended west Pasco branch library hours during December: w Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. w Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. w Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.

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