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Full-Scale Santa Barbara Library Renovations to Begin Tuesday

Main downtown branch will be closed for just a day, but construction will cause disruption for several weeks during first remodel since 1980

The main branch of the downtown Santa Barbara Public Library will close entirely Tuesday for construction preparation and reopen the following day as renovations continue for several weeks. No other branches will be affected. Click to view larger
The main branch of the downtown Santa Barbara Public Library will close entirely Tuesday for construction preparation and reopen the following day as renovations continue for several weeks. No other branches will be affected.                        (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The library is supposed to be a quiet place, but the Santa Barbara Central Library downtown will be anything but over the coming weeks.

The main branch at 40 E. Anapamu St. will close temporarily Tuesday in preparation for renovations on the main level, with disruptions and clunky construction noises expected thereafter. The library reopens with regular hours Wednesday.

“We are letting people know that all our other libraries are still open,” Irene Macias, library director, told Noozhawk. “It will be chaotic or noisy for about six weeks. At the end, there will be a nice payoff.”

The payoff is the main library’s first remodel since 1980.

Macias said construction of the Children’s Library started in February and involves relocating the existing children’s section from the main level to the lower level, where a state-of-the-art library will provide youngsters with a space more than four times the current 1,500-square-foot spot.

Once that move is complete, construction crews will focus upstairs on main level renovations, which include moving — and enlarging — the adult literacy department to the main floor and installing a new computer teaching lab, designated eating area facing the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, more study space and brighter lighting.

New furnishings and more display space for featured books and materials were also on the list, Macias said.

“We haven’t really done much on that main floor,” she said. “We’re just going to do some updating. It will be somewhat of an inconvenience for the public.”

During construction, patrons must enter the main floor through the emergency door to the left of the main Anapamu Street entrance.

Macias said all services will be moved to the opposite side of the building.

The lobby, stairways, restrooms and the Faulkner Gallery will remain open, and all Internet-accessible computers and regular services will still be available.

The $1.5 million Children’s Library project was tentatively set for a mid-2015 completion.

After it’s finished, Macias said library staff will begin trying to find funding for the Library Plaza project, a renovation project estimated at $3.9 million.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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