Central Library to Close for Restoration

St. Louis, MO… The St. Louis Public Library will close its downtown Central Library, 1301 Olive Street, on Monday, June 14, 2010, so that it can commence the eagerly anticipated restoration and renovation of the St. Louis landmark. Central Library will remain closed throughout the project, which is expected to last about two years. Library officials’ goal is to reopen Central in time for its centennial year of 2012. The $79 million project will be paid for through the Library’s own funding from St. Louis taxpayers, state and federal funding, and a major philanthropic campaign by the St. Louis Public Library Foundation.

Designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert and funded by Andrew Carnegie, Central Library is one of America’s great public buildings and an architectural masterpiece. The restoration and renovation, designed by the St. Louis architectural office of Cannon Design, will carefully restore and repair the building’s beautiful façades and stunning main public rooms.

New services and wonderful spaces to house them will be created in the renovated building. By remodeling former offices and service spaces, 30,000 square feet of additional space will be opened to the public. For example, a beautiful 250-seat auditorium/theater will occupy a space originally used for coal storage.

Other exciting features that the renewed Central Library will offer include:

*  The Center for the Reader: An enormous new space dedicated to new books and popular reading.

*  A greatly enlarged children’s library, including new craft and story areas, study and reading areas, and a teen center.

*  The Creative Experience: A dedicated room that will showcase new, state-of-the-art technology and software.

*  New rooms dedicated to patrons who use Central Library’s unique genealogy, St. Louis history, and rare books collections.

*  New generation technology including a computer classroom for technology education, new computer study areas as well as workstations distributed throughout; wireless technology access, and laptop computers.

*  A new, accessible entrance facing Lucas Park opening Central to the growing downtown residential district, offering a mirror to the great restored Olive entrance. The new entrance will feature the falling waters of a new reflecting pool, signaling that patrons are entering into a special experience. A few steps will take patrons into the new atrium, a beautiful new multi-story space leading into the heart of Central and an array of new features.

*  In addition to the new auditorium, a variety of new meeting spaces will be available for Library programs.

*  Entirely reworked electrical, mechanical, and environmental systems engineered for energy conservation. New elevators and restrooms will be distributed throughout the building.

The St. Louis Public Library’s staff believes deeply in our responsibility to serve the public and will work hard to meet our patrons’ needs while Central is being renovated. Library Branches will be open to serve patrons throughout the project. Our four regional Branches (Buder, Carpenter, Julia Davis, and Schlafly) are open seven days and four nights per week and provide access to larger collections. Central Express, located in the Old Post Office, will offer expanded hours while Central is closed.

Additionally, Central Library’s telephone and online reference services will continue during the project. Patrons will still be able to see Central’s collections in our online catalog and request them be delivered to our 15 locations.

Said Library Executive Director Waller McGuire, “We at the Library are excited to embark upon the restoration and renovation of Central Library. I am confident that we will be able to continue to provide the outstanding service that the public has come to know and expect from us throughout the project. Our ultimate goal is to provide the community a strong, renewed St. Louis Public Library.”

For more information, call 314-539-0300.

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