After a four-year wait, the doors of the newly renovated downtown Lafayette Public Library could reopen mid-June.
“We’re in the process of moving the staff in over there, and most of our collection has moved,” libraries Director Sona Dombourian said.
The library branch relocated to a former storefront on Jefferson Street four years ago so the renovations could begin. The majority of the branch’s collection was stored in a warehouse and retrieved at patrons’ requests.
Dombourian said that while the majority of the collection at the Jefferson Street branch has been moved, a bulk of borrowing materials — including adult fiction, DVDs, music and genealogy materials — haven’t been moved yet so the library can continue operations to the public at the location.
“We’re waiting for the last minute to move those,” she said.
Work to make the book-shaped entrance of the new children’s section special for young readers will start in the next two weeks.
The $10 million renovation was funded by a $40 million bond measure approved by voters in 2002, which also included construction of four new regional branches. Three of those branches are now open: South Regional on Johnston Street; North Regional in Carencro; and East Regional in Youngsville. A purchase agreement for property for a West Regional branch in the Scott area is still being worked out.
The downtown building serves as the main branch for the library system, and its three-story building at Lafayette and Congress streets has been shuttered for the past four years for the major overhaul, starting with a lengthy asbestos removal project within the more than 40-year-old building.
The wait for the reopening of the downtown location will be worth it, given the transformation and modernization of the building, Dombourian said.
“People have been so supportive in Lafayette for their libraries,” she said. “We’re all excited for this.”
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.