A $5.8 million remodeling project means the walls and roof are coming off and the lights are going dark at Anoka County’s Centennial Library for the next year.
When the library reopens in 2019, visitors will find double the space and renovated places to meet and read at the Circle Pines branch, said Anoka County Library Director Maggie Snow.
The project will double the library’s size from 6,300 square feet to about 13,000 square feet, making way for more meeting and conference rooms, additional computers and a full-sized kitchen for classes and programs, Snow said.
The library, at 100 Civic Heights Circle in Circle Pines, officially goes dark Saturday after a closing ceremony at noon Friday.
“It’s an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come in that particular building and put some closure on it,” Snow said.
Library officials say the expansion and renovation will help the 30-year-old building keep pace with the population growth in neighboring communities.
Signs of the upcoming renovation are already scattered throughout the redbrick building, where visitors have been perusing shiny renderings of the expansion.
A poster board with photos of the Centennial Library staff shows which branches they’ll be moving to for the next year. Many of the materials in the library’s collection will temporarily live in storage.
“It’s going to be a big change, but the community is changing,” said Matt Youngbauer, a library associate at Centennial.
Last year, the library logged more than 87,000 visits and tallied more than 6,600 people at classes and events, compared to about 3,600 in 2016, according to Snow.
Library officials attribute the attendance spike to a concerted effort to venture out and put on programs at places like schools and neighborhoods, rather than relying on residents to make their way to the building in Circle Pines.
“We want to bring the library programming to them,” Youngbauer said.
For years, Amy DeYoung of Ham Lake has paid visits to Centennial Library, enticed by the children’s nonfiction section for her daughters and the charm of the small branch.
“There is something nice about the little library,” said DeYoung during a recent visit. “But it’s always nice when they can fit more books in.”