Library set to be renovated this year

Published on Wednesday, 8 January 2014 23:05 - Written by By Kelly Gooch kgooch@tylerpaper.com

A children’s area, auditorium updates and signage are all part of renovation plans for the Tyler Public Library.

The library is set to undergo renovations this year, and on Wednesday, the City Council gave the go-ahead on a $43,023 contract with Fitzpatrick Architects, Inc. “to prepare plans and specifications for renovations.”

Among the proposed renovation areas are the children’s reading area and stacks, Taylor Auditorium, bathrooms on the first and third floors, “as well as installing exterior signage and enclosing the covered patio on the east side of the building,” according to a news release.

City Librarian Mary Vernau said the library building is more than 30 years old and “starting to show wear and tear.” She said the renovations will provide a fresh look.

She said Taylor Auditorium will have “new technology for sound,” and there will be fewer distractions for speakers there.

She said she also hopes parents are drawn to use the library with their children.

Additionally, she said she is excited that a screened-in reading porch will be created as part of the renovations.

“It will offer reading space for people to enjoy when the weather’s nicest,” Ms. Vernau said.

The renovation project is being funded by a bequest.

According to a news release, the bequest, which totals $636,036, comes from the estate of longtime patron Joyce Kathryn Findley. Part of the bequest was accepted by the City Council in 2009, while another portion was accepted in 2010.

Ms. Vernau said her staff is excited about the renovations and pleased with the designs.

“We are so thankful for the funds that were privately donated, which are making these much needed renovations possible,” Ms. Vernau said. “I can’t wait to see how much these enhancements will benefit our library patrons.”

Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass also said she appreciates the donated funds.

Serena Butcher, senior public relations specialist for the City of Tyler, said via email that the construction is estimated to take about six months, although there is not yet a definite completion date.

“We will try to keep the library open unless it is determined that it is unsafe,” Ms. Butcher wrote. “So, while their working on the auditorium, that part will be closed, but the rest of the library will still be open. While their working on specific parts they might be roped off, but we’d like to keep as much of the Library open as possible.”