Staring on Sept. 8, the Mary L. Stephens Branch Library will have a temporary home.
The building on E. 14th Street will undergo renovations that are expected to be completed by mid-2010. In the meantime, the library will be located at 2801 Second St.
The branch closed – and will remain so until Sept. 8 – on Aug. 15 to transfer collections to the temporary location, which also houses the Explorit Science Center.
The renovations will include enhanced services such as added staff, furniture, technology, more space for children, a new meeting room, four additional self-check machines and more materials. The building will feature environmental efforts, such as more efficient use of day lighting.
An automated return handling system will relieve staff of having to process the one million circulating and returned items by hand.
The improvements will be paid for by Measure P, which increased a library parcel tax from $42 to $88 annually. Multiple families will be taxed at a $44 per unit rate. This is the first library parcel tax increase since 1989.
“Even though we’re in an economic slump right how, there was an overwhelming majority that voted to pass this measure,” said Jack Karolewski, substitute reference librarian of the Davis Public Library. “Even though we only needed a two-thirds majority, 70 percent of the community voted to allot funds.“
Tony Cantrell, a library visitor, supports Measure P and looks forward to the completed improvements.
“Although [the library] functions well now and the staff has been very helpful to me, the place is due for some new furniture,” Cantrell said. “It’s also usually very crowded when I go, so an additional number of self-check machines will be helpful.“
Before Sept. 8, library materials will not be available in the catalog system. When the temporary site on Second Street opens, the materials will be listed again in the online catalogs and visitors can continue to place holds.
Karolewski, who works for several branches of Davis public school libraries and one in Dixon, said the Explorit Science Center was kind enough to share both the building and parking spaces.
The entrance to the new location is on Pena Drive and is on the Unitrans A-Line bus route.
Wireless Internet access will continue, while furniture, computers and other library materials will also move to the new location.
The temporary location will not contain public meeting rooms but will offer a room for children’s story time presented by the Davis Fencing Academy.
“It will be a good place for a temporary location since now parents who are bringing their children to the library can expose them not only to books, but science as well. It’s a good fusion of two essential intellectual ingredients,” Cantrell said.
The last expansion to the library doubled its size in the early 1990‘s. Until 2006, the branch was known as the Davis Branch, then was renamed the Mary L. Stephens Branch to honor the former Yolo County librarian. Over the years, the library has held book sales and speaking events for local authors, like Eva Rutland.
It is one branch of many in the Yolo County library system. Others include Esparato, Knights Landing, Clarksburg and Winters.
Karolewski and staff are already anticipating the grand re-opening and there has been talk of a community party taking place to celebrate the occasion.
“We are grateful to the Davis community for their ever-present support of our library services,” said Yolo County Librarian Patty Wong.
Hours will remain the same: Mon. from 1 to 9 p.m., Tues. through Thurs. from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. and Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sun. from 1 to 5 p.m.
ELENI STEPHANIDES can be reached at email@example.com.