By John Sharp
The Blue Ridge Branch of Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) at 9253 Blue Ridge Blvd. reopened November 29 after being closed for a little over eight months while undergoing extensive remodeling.
“We’re excited to see our patrons back,” said Branch Manager Kris Dyer, who noted that while curbside service will continue for the time being for persons who desire it, all library services also will be available inside. In-person group programs and presentations are being phased back in, he said, starting with story-time events for preschoolers at 10 a.m. on Thursdays.
The $2.3 million renovation project for the 21,280 square foot building included all new lighting, new display cases, new furniture including desks and chairs, new carpet and paint and a new ceiling, and automatic entry doors that are easily accessible by persons in wheelchairs from the resurfaced parking lot which now has new lighting.
It also included new areas for toddlers and other young children and for teenagers, renovated restrooms with better accessibility, windows that bring in much more natural light, many more electrical outlets for people’s personal electronic devices and native plants around the building.
Dyer said 18 desktop computers and 6 laptop computers are available for patrons’ use, and the branch will soon be getting Chromebooks for their use as well.
The renovation project added three small meeting rooms that hold up to 4, 5 or 7 people that Dyer said he expects will be frequently used. Each include a computer monitor and white board. There is no charge for their use.
The previous community room that could only be enclosed by movable partitions that were far from soundproof has been replaced by a fully enclosed larger room with walls and windows that Dyer said can accommodate roughly 50 people with just chairs and about 25 with chairs and tables.
It will be available for bookings beginning January 3, he said, and audio-visual equipment is available. There is a $10 rental fee for groups of 1 to 16 people plus $10 an hour after two hours, a $15 rental fee for 17 to 40 people plus a $10 an hour fee, and a $25 rental fee for over 40 people plus a $10 an hour fee. There is an additional fee of $10 for using library technology or serving food.
Hours for the branch are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
A formal rededication for the remodeled branch will be announced later, according to MCPL Community Relations Specialist Emily Becker.