The Southeast Regional Library on 7th Avenue plans to close for renovations in August.
However, they currently have no space to continue their programs, which left some Garner families wondering whether their children will have to go to Raleigh or Fuquay-Varina just to check out a book.
Michael Wasilick, Wake Library director, and Anne Burlingame, Wake Library assistant director, said the library is doing all that it can to make sure they find a temporary space to house its programs.
Wasilick told the town council at its meeting Monday night, that he had been in conversations with Town Manager Hardin Watkins on possibly using the old police headquarters as a space after they move into their new building.
The new police headquarters, which is currently being built across from the library, will hold all of the police department. It is expected to be finished construction in late August or early September, Watkins said, about a month after the library closes.
The building will be vacant until Feb. 1, 2016 before demolition.
“We’re kind of advocates for library services to everybody else to say, we don’t really want to have a community without a library,” Wasilick said.
He said they have been stressing to Wake County the importance of finding a new space. However, the county is not paying for a temporary space. The county is only paying for the renovations, which were approved as part of a bond in 2007, Wesilick said.
Police station an option?
Moving from the current library to the old police station would be an easier move and it wouldn’t cost as much. The town would pay the rent and utilities on the building.
The cons are that a move to the old police station would mean a much smaller space, fewer programs will be offered at the library or moved off campus for about six to seven months before the renovations are expected to be complete.
The inspections department would also need to find out whether the old police station is suitable for a library.
The two topics in question are the travel distance to the emergency exits and handicap requirements.
Tony Beasley, inspections director, said his department is waiting on the library to submit a floor layout, but preliminary findings indicate there will be no conflict.
“I don’t see any major issues because it has two main exits, that are accessible, Beasley said. “That distance is so small I don’t have any concerns about the travel to the exits.”
Burlingame, the assistant director, said they were assured by the town manager that if the police station didn’t work, the town would help them find another space.
She said in the temporary space, the library will continue the young child programs, while the school age program will be done at White Deer Park.
“We’ll probably take a break from the adult program until we get into the new space,” Burlingame said.
Town council members said they were pleased to hear that most of the library services will continue to be offered.
“If at any point you think that we need to appeal to the county commissioners that we need to put some dollars behind this because we’re willing to make the space available,” council member Buck Kennedy told Wasilick and Burlingame. “I would encourage you to push on and make us aware, because we’ll make that trip to the county commissioners and make that appeal.”
The new library will have a different layout, new carpet, new shelving, new furnishing, more programming, a new space for adult programming and more space for staff. It is expected to be finished in February 2016.