The Bud Werner Memorial Library is preparing for a "big, beautiful book ballet" as 80,000 books are moved from the old library to the new addition, Library Director Chris Painter said Friday. The library will be closed Aug. 9 to Sept. 11 as volunteers assist in the mass migration of materials to the new space.
The new, $11.4 million addition will be open to the public Sept. 12, with a 10 percent increase in available materials. The expanded library also will include a coffee bar, children's area, teen area, meeting spaces and tutoring rooms.
"It's pretty much a beehive right now," Painter said, as workers applied the finishing touches to the interior.
The building is also on track to receive a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, award for its energy efficiency. Construction on the project is about two weeks behind schedule, but Painter said that may not be a bad thing.
"I'm pleased with this schedule because we have a lot of kids in the summer, and we don't want to close it during that time," she said.
Brad Dean, assistant superintendent for Adolfson & Peterson Construction, said the late winter posed problems earlier in the year but that everything is on track.
"Things are going great. Things are going as planned," he said. Many of his workers are putting in 60-hour weeks during the final stages of construction to get the building finished on time.
Carpet is laid, walls are painted, and many of the wall storage units are in place. Bookshelves will arrive early next week, Dean said, and the building will take shape as permits are issued and more furniture is moved in.
Dean said that at any time there are an average of 30 to 50 workers on site.
The old section of the library will remain closed until near the end of the year as that space goes through a renovation process. During that time the building will have new siding and windows installed, and the interior will be restored to its original 1960s appearance with open ceilings, Painter said.
The old library was cramped and didn't have space for many of the activities the librarians and public wanted, she said.
"We've been so crammed up in there for so many years," Painter said. "The shelves were full, there were no places to sit, no meeting spaces, no space for children's programs and no space for cultural programs."
She said the new space also will include youth-specific features such as play installations for younger readers and comfortable couches and reading areas for teens.
The new library also will be handicap-accessible with elevators and ramps, another feature the old building lacked.
Painter said she hopes to have 100 volunteers over the four days of book moving, Aug. 16 to 19. Anyone wishing to volunteer and get a sneak peak at the new library can sign up on the Web site, www.steamboatlibrary.org, or by calling the library at 879-0240.
Not all services will be closed as the library moves next door, however, and books still can be requested on the library Web site. Patrons who request books will receive a call from library staff when the book is available for pickup at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus.
No late fees will be assessed during the move and book drops at the library will remain open during the building's closure.