Li­brary ren­o­va­tions in fi­nal chap­ter

Cen­tral Branch of pub­lic li­brary is ex­pected to re­open for busi­ness in mid-Jan­uary

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON

The fi­nal con­struc­tion phases are un­der­way in the $13.6-mil­lion ren­o­va­tion of the Cen­tral Branch of the Kingston Fron­tenac Pub­lic Li­brary.

Work on the project, be­gun two years ago when the col­lec­tion and staff were moved out and dis­trib­uted to other branch lo­ca­tions, is ex­pected to be com­plete by early De­cem­ber.

At that point, about 100,000 books are to be moved back into a build­ing that has been com­pletely re­designed on the in­side.

“We’re putting the fi­nal touches on con­struc­tion. We’re look­ing to move in a lit­tle over a month from now, ac­tu­ally,” Laura Carter, di­rec­tor of branch ex­pe­ri­ence for the Kingston Fron­tenac Pub­lic Li­brary, said.

The move should take about five or six weeks, and the branch is to re­open to the pub­lic in midJan­uary.

At this point, work­ers are fo­cused on fin­ish­ing the floors be­fore in­stalling new fur­ni­ture and tech­nol­ogy, such as cam­eras and pub­lic ad­dress sys­tems.

When the col­lec­tion re­turns to the 5,760-square-me­tre branch, it is to be about 25 per cent smaller than what it was be­fore it moved out, Carter said.

The re­duc­tion is, in part, be­cause the new-look li­brary is to have less shelf space and more meet­ing and ac­tiv­ity rooms.

“Which sort of re­flects how peo­ple are us­ing us,” Carter said. “Our col­lec­tion is chang­ing, but it is still the largest col­lec­tion in the sys­tem and is still a re­search col­lec­tion.”

The project was to be com­pleted by last spring, but de­lays in find­ing a con­trac­tor to work on the ex­te­rior brick work ear­lier this year, as well as dam­age from a flood in Au­gust, pushed the con­struc­tion sched­ule back.

The scale of the ex­te­rior work was also greater than orig­i­nally ex­pected, and the in­te­rior walls on the third floor where the ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cers are lo­cated was found to con­tain as­bestos, which had to be re­moved.

De­spite the de­lays and sur­prises, Carter said the project re­mains on bud­get.

EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

Laura Carter, di­rec­tor of branch ex­pe­ri­ence for the Kingston Fron­tenac Pub­lic Li­brary, stands on the re­built in­te­rior stair­case at the Cen­tral Branch on Thurs­day.

EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

Work­ers walk through the sec­ond floor of the Cen­tra Branch of the Kingston Fron­tenac Pub­lic Li­brary on Thurs­day.

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