Books to return to Pitkin library this week

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

After a year of renovations, the Pitkin County Library will begin to resemble a library again Friday when movers begin bringing actual books back to the facility, a county official said Tuesday.

New bookshelves were delivered to the renovated library Monday, and movers will spend the next three weeks retrieving the majority of the library’s book collection from a parking garage in Snowmass Village, said Pitkin County Facilities Superintendent Jodi Smith.

Developer Related Cos. donated the storage space for the books in Snowmass Village, but the lease ends April 30, Smith said.

Meanwhile, the $14.3 million project “is moving along beautifully on schedule,” Smith told Pitkin County commissioners Monday. The building is now fully carpeted, except for the stairs, and workers are concentrating on the lower level, she said.

The renovation is being paid for with private donations and another $600,000 from the library’s property tax coffers. It initially began as just an expansion, though significant donations later surfaced, which allowed the county to conduct a full renovation, Smith said.

No taxpayer funds were used in the renovation, Smith said.

Improvements will include 7,000 additional square feet of space; a new, more secure children’s area; a new commons area; a new digital-media lab; an improved community meeting space with large windows; several small rooms for tutoring; and a cafe and coffee bar.

Smith also urged commissioners to come tour the facility and check out the room in which they will meet for more than a year while the county building on Main Street is renovated.

An opening date for the new library has not been set yet, though Smith said she expects that to occur during the first or second week in June.

One thing that must be completed before the library can open is the new sidewalk along Mill Street, she said. When the city redid the alley behind the library, it changed the grade, and the sidewalk was made longer to be in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, Smith said.

Another issue is the library’s roof. Smith, county officials and county commissioners are trying to determine whether to make bandage-type repairs similar to those done a few years ago or spend the money to completely fix the problem, she said. That roof work likely will be completed after the library opens, Smith said.

Commissioners have said they would like to see the problem permanently fixed.

Another issue of note to regular library users is that the temporary library at the old Aspen Art Museum will be closed for about two weeks prior to the new library opening so materials can be returned to the newly renovated library, Smith said.


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