It takes a lot of work to replace the carpet in a library. Not only does the furniture have to be moved, there is also the matter of tens of thousands of books that have to be shifted as well.
In June, the Penticton Public Library will be doing just that, and shutting down for the entire month to make it happen. The Penticton Museum and the auditorium, housed in the same building, will be unaffected by the closure.
New carpet, new paint and a fresh layout will create a more welcoming space, according to chief librarian Heather Buzzell.
“The last time it was done was in 1988 and it is quite badly worn, frankly filthy,” said Buzzell. Library staff will spend the month shifting books around to make room for the work crew as they work, section by section, through the building.
“My staff will be working around the carpet cleaners to shift parts of the collection,” said Buzzell. “Then they’ll tear up the old carpet, lay the new one and we will move things back, so we will be leapfrogging over them.”
Since the library will be closed for a month, the borrowing limit is increased to 100 items and the loan period extended until July 5. During the closure, the book return on the western side of the building will remain open and staff will continue to fill requests for items on hold.
The increased borrowing limit, Buzzell said, isn’t a ploy to get more of the collection loaned out so it doesn’t have to be moved.
“That would be ideal, but no it is mostly so our patrons aren’t as inconvenienced. We are a pretty busy facility, for us to shut down without any increase of loan period wouldn’t be fair to our borrowers,” she said, noting that June is one of the library’s slower months, averaging about 20,000 visitors.
Though schools will still be open for part of June, Buzzell doesn’t anticipate too many difficulties, since school libraries will still be available.
“We have sent letters out to the schools to let them know if they want to arrange class visits, especially for the young ones, that we are happy to do it in May. Julia Cox, our children’s programmer, will be going out as she is invited. Generally, we don’t do very many children’s programs in June anyway,” said Buzzell.