Home > "Library Renovations to be Booked," by Mike Ray, OKC Friday

"Library Renovations to be Booked," by Mike Ray, OKC Friday

By Mike W. Ray Staff Writer, OKC Friday 11/28/2018

Bids on major renovations to the interior of The Village Library are scheduled to be opened on Dec. 10. 

“Over the last year, we have gone through the process of scoping and planning for an interior renovation” at The Village library, Morgan Jones, manager of planning and assessment for the Metropolitan Library System (MLS), wrote in a letter dated Oct. 9. “The inside will be reconfigured to best utilize the space,” said Victoria Stephens, the MLS internal communications coordinator. 

The MLS is devoting approximately $250,000 to the renovation project, Jones said. Plans include: 

  • Replacing carpet throughout the 14,044 square-foot library;
  • Repainting the entire interior of the building;
  • Constructing an ADA-compliant family restroom off the lobby;
  • Replacing the circulation desk with a new service desk;
  • Removing the reference desk to add some larger computer desks; and,
  • Relocating staff work areas to make room for four public study rooms. 

Special Friends of The Village Library donated $60,000 to finance renovations in two particular sectors: updating the lounge seating area at the south end of the building, and “refreshing” the teen area with a complete redesign “to reflect the changing needs of youth today.” Those improvements are to include: replacing the shelves for young-adult materials, adding a large group study table with bar stools, installing flexible, collaborative seating that will increase capacity from four to 10 teenagers, replacing the lounge furniture, adding eight or more lounge seats and providing single and collaborative study areas. 

The library will close in mid-January when construction starts, and will reopen in late February, Stephens said. “Our goal is to reopen before spring break,” Jones said. 

The library, located at 10307 N. Pennsylvania Ave., was constructed in 1990. The City of The Village owns the building but leases it to the MLS for a token $1 per year, City Manager Bruce Stone said. Although the city hopes to enlarge the building by up to 6,000 square feet “at some point in the future” – as recommended in The Village Vision plan developed last year – no Village tax dollars will be used in the pending interior renovation project, Stone said. 

Records indicate The Village Library is a popular site. For example, visits to the facility in fiscal year 2018 numbered 142,636. The facility logged a 68 percent increase in new cardholders since 2017, and a 33 percent increase in digital circulation, Stephens said. The library serves approximately 23,000 active customers, she said, including 2,042 active cardholders aged 13-18. The library has a collection of more than 60,300 items, Stephens said. That includes nearly 31,000 hardback books, 13,200 paperbacks, 2,000 Playaway handheld devices each preloaded with an audiobook, almost 5,000 CDROMs, 6,100 DVDs, 2,200 periodicals, plus computer tablets and portable video players preloaded with a show. Special programs include a weekly “reading to dogs” event that provides children with an opportunity to practice reading aloud to therapy canines, a summer reading program, a monthly book discussion group for adults, computer instruction classes, a teen advisory group and a monthly “Something Interesting for Teens” program. 

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