Central Library will close later this month for renovations, but
officials have scaled down the project in hopes that a new facility
may soon be on the way.
In March, library officials applied for a $20-million piece of the
$110 million in funding being doled out to cities throughout the
state for library construction. Library Services Director Sharon
Cohen said she expects to hear sometime in October if Burbank will
receive the funding, for which 65 other cities also applied.
Given the possibility that a new library could be built, city
officials acknowledged that only about $65,000 in repairs will be
made on what was originally expected to be about a $350,000 project.
“We were going to do a major remodeling, but now we’re doing a
greatly scaled down version just to keep the library going,” Cohen
Several light fixtures with substandard wiring will be replaced,
as will carpet that has worn thin, project manager Bruce Berichon
said. In addition to the repairs, Berichon said a $180,000 project
aimed at improving workstations around the library is expected to
begin sometime after Jan. 1.
“The building is in excellent condition, it’s just gotten too
small for the services it offers,” he said.
The Central Library will be closed from Aug. 23 through Sept. 1.
No items stored at the branch will be available for checkout during
that time, however Cohen said items on hold will be available to be
picked up at the Buena Vista and Northwest library branches. The
Central Library, she added, houses about 60% of the city’s total
Passage of Measure L earlier this year means that if the city
receives funding from the state, local property owners would pay the
additional $18 million needed for the proposed project, which would
pay for building a new Central Library as well as a new Northwest
Library. The fee is expected to be about $3 for the average
Design work on the new facilities has already been completed, and
Cohen said if the proposal were approved, officials would be ready to
move ahead immediately. Even so, she said it would be some time
before the new libraries would open.
“Even if we get approved, we’ll still be here for another four
years,” she said.
If the city’s proposal is not approved, they can apply again in
January for a final round of state funding. If the project is still
not approved, Cohen said city officials would have to decide whether
to seek an alternate source of funding for new facilities or just try
to renovate the existing buildings.
“By getting a majority vote on Measure L, it indicates the
community wants a new Central Library and a new Northwest Library,”