South San Francisco library closing for makeover

The well-worn Main Library will close its doors this winter, but only for four months so $700,000 in improvements can be made.

Officials say any inconvenience will be worth the wait.

The Main Library, at 840 W. Orange Ave., was built more than 40 years ago. It’s popular, according to Cisca Hansen, president of the library board.

<p>“Our patrons enjoy the library tremendously,” she said. “We’re trying to do some freshening up for them.”

New carpets will be installed and walls will receive a fresh coat of paint, according to library Director Valerie Sommer. The children’s section, which is currently located in the entryway of the library, will be moved to the back reference area. The children’s bathroom will also be converted to meet federal requirements for handicapped access and the main library will see new bookshelves.

“Those carpets are about 18 years old,” Sommer said. “And access needs to be improved for greater ease and use.”

The total cost is estimated at $700,000 and will be paid for primarily through redevelopment grant money.

The funds will also be used to redo some electrical wiring to accommodate new technology, such as wireless Internet. More computers will be added to the computer lab, along with additional outlets for people who come to the library to use their laptops.

“We have limited electrical outlets right now, so people string their cords across the floor and that’s really dangerous,” Sommer said. “More electrical outlets will hopefully help that.”

During the renovation period, patrons will be directed to use the Grand Avenue library branch, which will have extended hours to accommodate the increased number of visitors.

With the library system seeing 12 percent growth overall, Hansen said she hopes the branch library will be able to accommodate the two-fold increase in patrons.

According to library statistics gathered by the state, half of South San Francisco’s population of 62,614 in 2006-07 were registered library members.

And while the remodeled library is expected to look like new when it reopens, Hansen said the long-term goal of the board is to actually add another branch to the system.

“That’s our dream,” Hansen said. “But that’s way down the road.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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