Library temporarily closes book on youth section

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2005

Officials with the Ironton Branch of the Briggs Lawrence County Library warned that some closures would ensue as a result of their more than $2 million renovation.

The first of these, for some library sections at least, will begin on Christmas Eve.

The library will close the second floor (rear Fifth Street) entrance and the children’s room due to work on the second floor of the library. The closure will be in effect from Saturday until Jan. 6.

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The first floor will be open to the public from the Fourth Street entrance. Likewise, the rear parking lot will remain open. However, patrons will have to walk around to the Fourth Street entrance.

As temperatures continue to drop, the number of tasks that workers can take on also drops. Jenkins said that although the decision was difficult, it would allow work to continue on the renovation.

It is also, Jenkins said, better timing for the children’s room to be closed now, as the library’s “Storytime” program — and local schools — are out of session.

“In looking at it and trying to compare all of the pros and cons, it just seemed like we could do it now, and it would probably have less of an impact,” director Joe Jenkins said. “It was not an easy decision.”

This doesn’t mean that children will be left out in the cold, so to speak. Children’s books and videos will be available on the library’s first floor.

What might have more of an impact on library patrons is that the facility will be closing its meeting room permanently. The room, in the forthcoming renovation, will be converted to two handicapped-accessible restrooms.

This first phase of the renovation project, which was designed by Shawn Walker and Associates, will attach a new 6,000 square-foot building to the existing structure, allowing the addition of new catalog offerings and even a new periodical reading area.

The second phase will renovate the existing library facility including plans to improve wiring, windows and roofing.

Also, plans include an elevator, finally making the Briggs handicapped-accessible. All told, it is a $2.15 million project, with completion scheduled for May or June 2006.