Some St. Louis County library patrons may soon have to temporarily switch branches. The library system is in the process of opening or re-opening six locations while closing another five for renovations.
Building two new branches and renovating the other nine costs about $58 million. Funding for the improvements comes from the $.06 library district property tax increase approved in 2012.
“What we’ve tried to do is spread the closures out in different areas of the county so there are branch locations nearby,” said St. Louis County library system director Kristen Sorth, adding that the closed branches should re-open in six to nine months.
According to Sorth, eventually 19 of the library system’s 20 locations will need to be replaced or renovated because the way people use libraries has changed since the buildings were constructed.
“They were built at a time when the needs of a modern library didn’t exist, and so they’re just not set up to provide the services that our patrons want,” said Sorth.
The redesigned branches have lots of comfortable chairs and places to plug in electronics. They also have café areas with vending machines, quiet rooms, community rooms and dedicated spaces for children and teens.
One new library branch and one renovated branch have already opened to the public. The next branch scheduled to reopen is the Indian Trails library branch in Vinita Parks on Monday.
A list of library closures and openings can be found on the St. Louis County library website. The website also lists the recommended branch to visit if your normal location is closed.
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.