It will bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “travel books.”
Leaders with the Lawrence Public Library announced Tuesday that the library will close for two weeks beginning Jan. 7 in order to move its collection into its temporary home in the former Border’s building at Seventh and New Hampshire streets.
The move is taking place to accommodate an $18 million expansion project at the library’s permanent site at Seventh and Vermont streets. The library is expected to open up in the former Border’s building by Jan. 21.
“If we can get open earlier, we will do that,” said library director Brad Allen. “Moving a library is a lot like moving anything else. It is just on a pretty large scale.
“You have to look at it in its entirety and then break down into parts. If you look at it in its entirety too long, you start to hyperventilate.”
Allen said his staff is finalizing a contract with a professional moving company to move every book, magazine, DVD and every other item in the library in order to give construction crews the most flexibility to work on the expansion project.
During the two week period from Jan. 7 to Jan. 22, the library will be largely closed but will offer a few basic services. The library’s website will remain functional, and patrons can request to put a book or item on hold. Allen said library staff will attempt to fill the request within a day’s time, but he said that may be difficult in many cases.
“It really will come down to how quickly we can find it,” Allen said. “There will be some items that are out of pocket.”
Allen said patrons will be able to come to the library’s auditorium between noon and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday to pick up requested items that have been retrieved.
The library’s book drop locations will remain functional, but the library is adopting a policy where no books will be due during the two-week period and no late fines will be issued during the period.
Once the library reopens, essentially all of the children’s collection and teen collection will be located in the temporary space. Only half of the adult fiction and nonfiction collection, however, will be located in the building.
The rest of the collection will be in a leased, secure storage building in east Lawrence. Allen said library employees will be traveling back and forth between the storage building and the temporary library on a daily basis. He’s optimistic patrons who request an item will be able to receive it within a day’s time.
Allen thinks the library will be able to host many smaller events, such as story time and small meetings, in its temporary space. The library will use the former coffee shop portion of the Border’s store to house events and programming.
“We think we can get 30 to 50 adults in there, and that will accommodate most of the events we do,” Allen said.
He said the library would look to find community partners to host other larger library events.
Library visitors may start to notice parking disruptions near the library before the Jan. 7 closing. Allen said construction crews already have begun to remove some of the 10-hour meters in the parking lot, although the parking spots remain open. But he said the southern half of the library’s parking lot likely will be closed before the end of the year.
Construction on the expanded library and the adjacent parking garage is expected to last until April 2014.