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Your Library Reimagined project phase 2 to begin soon

By Staff | Dec 27, 2017

Sanibel Public Library IT Associate Ozzy Flores and Nicole Decker-McHale, Board of Commissioners, stand in a new computer lab located right off the elevator in the back portion of the library. MEGHAN MCCOY

The Your Library Reimagined project for the Sanibel Public Library is making great strides with the first phase almost completed, and the second phase weeks from beginning.

Sanibel Public Library Executive Director Margaret Mohundro said this week they are having a meeting to narrow down the exact date of when the second phase will begin. A switch will take place opening the remodeled back half of the library, with the closing of the front entrance.

Mohundro said when the switch occurs, the library will close for a few days to make the transition easier on staff and patrons. All books due during the closure will not have any late fees.

Patrons will have the opportunity to enter the library through its brand new second entrance, which includes a new stairway, elevator and circulation desk.

“This side we will see faster upgrades,” Mohundro said of the second phase because all the major work has been completed, such as duct work and electrical wiring.

Once the library is completed in September 2018, patrons will have the opportunity to use two entrances.

In the 1960s the Sanibel Public Library began with a group of volunteers. In 1994 the library moved to its third home at 770 Dunlop Road. It was expanded to its current size in 2004. Although the structure of the library is in great shape, much of the infrastructure was in need of upgrades.

In 2015 the planning began for the Your Library Reimagined project, which includes such upgrades as the HVAC, fire suppression, plumbing, lighting, technology and the flooring. The Sanibel Public Library board set a budget of $5.9 million, which is being covered by library reserves, grants and gifts.

The construction began in early June. Chris-TEL Construction and HBM Architects from Cleveland Ohio, who specializes in library design, were chosen.

Mohundro said they are still on time and within budget and fortunately have not run into any major surprises during the remodeling.

“We are happy with the architects and things are going very smoothly,” she said.

Although the remodeling process has been tough on patrons, due to a large portion of the library’s books being moved to storage, Mohundro said they have been very nice and understanding.

“They are excited about when it all reopens,” she said.

The Sanibel Public Library has about 65,000 items, with approximately 40,000 of those in storage during the project. Mohundro said an interlibrary loan program has been popular during the Your Library Reimagined project.

“If you can’t find it, ask. We can get it for you from another library,” she said.

Once the switch occurs, Mohundro said they will keep all youth and teen books available in the back, first phase, of the library.

Some of the improvements the patrons are excited about is the upgraded LED lighting and bigger windows providing natural light.

The HVAC is another upgrade everyone is excited about. Before the Your Library Reimagined project began, the Sanibel Public Library had nine separate air-conditioning units. With the upgrade to the one chiller, she said it will be more efficient and economic.

“It will keep the temperature in the building much more balanced,” Mohundro said of the HVAC.

Another highlight patrons are looking forward to are the “living room” spaces scattered throughout the library. With the opportunity of reworking the bookshelves, she said has given them the opportunity to have sofas and chairs in various spaces.

The furniture will be repurposed with a light oak color. The colors of the library will be a reflection of the islands with blues and grays. Mohundro said it will incorporate the ripple pattern of the sand and water.

Something staff is looking forward to is the upgraded WiFi service and the improved access to electrical. Mohundro said this allows them to have more flexibility of where WiFi services are placed in the library.

The flexibility was made possible due to 36 concrete cylinders cut out of the floor, which enables electric and data to come through the floor of the garage. Mohundro said this allows patrons to have more flexibility of where they can plug in and receive data.

Sanibel Public Library IT Manager Danny Hussey said the new technology system will be “greener” providing less of a carbon footprint. The cutting edge technology system, he said is keeping the cozy small town Sanibel feeling, while making things easier for patrons.

“He’s a great addition to the staff,” Mohundro said. “We are very grateful to the foundation and donors. They are very supportive of technology initiatives. It makes a huge difference of how fast we roll out to the public.”

The Your Library Reimagined project also includes two computer labs with the latest software, a 3D printer and a scanning station for individuals to digitize their own photographs.

“We are the public library and we want to make sure everything is available,” Mohundro said.

Some of the key features of the remodeled library will include:

* Flex space for programs and technology

* Reconfigured large meeting room that subdivides into two smaller meeting rooms

* New book drop, drive, bike or walk

* New adult reading room with added seating

* New children’s room with a large window seat

* New interactive early literacy area

* New teen space

* New technology mini lab

* Expanded porch

* Think Tank for technology collaboration

* New small study rooms for tutoring, webinars and video chatting

* Archives room with digitization station