Enoch Pratt Library’s Major Renovation Begins This Week

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When future-you visits the Enoch Pratt Free Library in 2020, it’ll be like stepping into a whole new world.

The $115 million renovation of the library’s central branch began this week, and is expected to take 3.5 years. According to library officials, it’s definitely time for some upgrades. The last time the building’s lighting system was upgraded was in the 1950s, for example:

The Central Library, built in 1933, has become outdated, and as it is, it cannot accommodate the public’s need and desire for information. It badly needs functional and energy-efficient systems of all kinds. There are not enough computers for people who need to use them, and its shelves, storage, meeting rooms and offices need major upgrades. The outdated book and materials security system needs to be replaced.

When it’s complete, the revamped building will include more space for computers and other technology; a teen/young adult wing; an expanded children’s room; more public spaces; and upgraded/green systems.  “This building is going to get a heart and lung transplant, with a little Botox,” library CEO Carla B. Hayden told the Sun. “It will look just as historic and beautiful, but it will have the latest and the greatest.”

And despite all the upgraded technological features, the library will remain a place to check out books — and it’ll be open throughout the renovation process, too.



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