Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Library Renovations: Progress and What We Can Expect Soon

 It is hard to believe it has been nearly 7 months since I first foretold what the library's renovation would bring to the YA community. As the library moves into phase two of the renovation project, I would like to take a journey into the progress we have made thus far and what progress we've made into creating a dedicated space for our YA community.

The first place we'll look at the library's progress is the outside. Over the last couple of months, renovators have been hard at work to create an extension of the library. This new addition of the library comes at the cost of the house the library owned next to us, but this small detail is worth the addition we get to our library.

This extension is where a new meeting space will be. This new addition is also going to be connected by the new YA area and will allow for a lot more options when it comes to the community. The new space will give everyone in the community the chance to meet, and won't be restricted to one age group or another. The outside landscape around the library is in its golden age of change, and it is vastly different from what it looked like at the beginning of the project.

Ad the library continues to grow through its renovation, the outside will be the most telling of what progress we have made.

Another place in the library that has changed greatly since the beginning of the renovations is the downstairs area. From having multiple pieces of hard drywall quartering off the renovations down there, there is now a thin tarp blocking from sight the extent of the progress that has been made. The evolution of the downstairs space has been grueling, but it had to be made so we could reap the true benefits of the renovation.

A prime example of how much the downstairs had changed throughout the entire renovation cycle is how when I first started to take photos for this blog, the front porch downstairs had not been built, but when I started to actually write the blog, the front porch was already completed. The speed that the renovators have when it comes to the library's renovation is impressive. The speed that the children's department has had when it comes to their continual adaptation to the situation is equally impressive in my eyes.

The place that has changed the most, by far, is the adult department. To kick off the renovations, half of the adult department, and the entire YA collection, was moved so that we could start renovations on the first half of the building. If you came into the library within the last 5-6 months, then you have seen a massive, semi-opaque, barrier keeping you confined to one half of the building. This barrier is what kept people from seeing the true progress that was being made, but that barrier is gone now, and you can see what we have done. The biggest addition that came was the completion of the fireplace. Although we thought supply shortages could delay its completion, we managed to get the fireplace done before we moved onto phase 2 of the renovation. For phase 2, the plan is to renovate the staff work area mostly and to let patrons use the other half of the building. We plan to make the other half of the building look as new as the side that is renovated.

And finally, on to the progress on the new YA area. Throughout the entirety of phase 1, the place where the YA area will be, the current non-fiction, has not been touched. This has changed, however, now that we are moving onto phase 2 of the renovations. Now with phase two, we see this area's much needed coronation of it being quartered off. Like the beginning of the downstairs renovation, the YA area is being quartered off by drywall to help mitigate the dust that comes with large scale renovations.

Although this space is currently bare, I believe that by the end of this phase of the renovation, you won't be able to believe that it was ever bare before. You can feel the potential this space has. This, right here, right now, is historical. This is one the stepping stones that will lead to the YA community feeling more involved in the library's everyday activities. This space purely represents opportunity for Young Adults, and me thinking about what can happen when we use this space is very exciting.

We've reached a place in the renovations where we finally are able to start to comprehend what good these renovations can bring to us in our YA community. We now have the opportunity to see, first-hand, what steps are being taken to give us the much needed space we all fee we deserve. When I first started to volunteer, I remember seeing many people in my age group take advantage of the computers at the library in order to unwind after a long day at school. This image of people choosing to go to the library to have fun and keeping away the responsibility of everyday life sticks in my mind to this day.

This image drives my excitement about this new space. Embracing the fact that if people start associating the library with fun and excitement, I feel this new space must be made. We want everyone to enjoy and take advantage of the library, and getting everyone to do so means we should have a space that allows the YA community to meet and have fun. My hope is that creating this space will have a domino effect in the YA community and will encourage more people to come to the library.

The library has always lacked a true space that the YA could take advantage of. Whenever I saw people in my age group having fun at the library, they always had to deal with them either being in the children's department or the adult department - there was never a space where they could just have fun without risking being too loud for the place they were in. This space creates so many possibilities and my only hope is that more people will learn about this space and will take advantage of it in the future.

- This writing brought to you by BPL Student Advisor, Braden Unruh