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Newly Renovated Columbia Pike Library Reopens Following 16 Months

(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) With a snip of a ribbon, the freshly-renovated Columbia Pike Department Library formally opened for the 1st time due to the fact March 2020.

The library on S. Walter Reed Push, which very first opened in 1975, underwent a substantial makeover including new furnishings, current carpeting, refreshing coats of paint, added assembly rooms, modernized audio-visible devices and new lighting.

The 21,000-product assortment has been consolidated to the to start with floor to make home for an enlargement of the Arlington Tech superior school system. The plan is part of the Arlington Occupation Centre, located on the second ground of the facility.

“We didn’t lose any collections, we acquired a couple of meeting rooms, and we attained more discrete spaces,” Arlington Community Library Director Diane Kresh tells ARLnow. “[The renovation] opened up what had been a lot of squandered space. It seriously feels bigger.”

Renovations for the full task, on the very first and next flooring, price tag somewhere around $4.45 million, according to a spokesperson from Arlington Community Educational facilities, which owns the creating.

Kresh says APS’s possession of the making presented a possibility to make the library superior.

“The library has always shared the room with schools. It’s a properly-loved facility and confirmed a great deal of have on and tear,” says Kresh. “So, when the educational facilities prepared to renovate and improve the room of the Occupation Heart, that gave us an chance to consolidate down right here and do a redesign.”

Kresh notes that although closing the libraries past yr because of to the pandemic was complicated for team and the community, there was a “silver lining” — the renovations could get carried out.

The library opened to the general public on Tuesday, but the celebration was held yesterday evening (Thursday).

With a vaccination rate close to 70% for adults, persons packed the group library. There had been donuts and cookies, and kids eating reported treats while darting a person way and yet another. A magician done for a rapt viewers. After remarks and ribbon reducing, a protect band churned out classics such as “Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy.” The overall Arlington County Board was in attendance, as was County Supervisor Mark Schwartz and Del. Alfonso Lopez.

Board Vice-Chair Katie Cristol says celebrating the reopening of this library — her neighborhood library — following these a challenging year is welcome.

“It’s a indicator of restoration of things, matters coming back to ordinary,” Cristol tells ARLnow. “It is also the initial signal of the local community being equipped to arrive back jointly, which is unquestionably what we see going on around listed here.”

Cristol stated her beloved issue about coming to the library was to browse new fiction releases, but that is transformed.

“I now have a two-12 months old who loves publications, so I feel my favored factor about the library is about to be this group home,” she stated.

As of Tuesday, library companies have expanded at five spots: Columbia Pike, Central Library, Aurora Hills, Shirlington and Westover. This finishes the express support product that APL experienced executed previously this 12 months.

Patrons now have total obtain to library collections with no time restrict on searching. Spaced seating is out there to use the community Wi-Fi along with entire accessibility to restrooms and h2o fountains.

The Heart for Nearby Background at Central Library, in the meantime, is now open up by appointment, and outdoor and indoor story-time programming will resume later this thirty day period.

Beginning Friday, Aug. 6, public computers will be available for use, assembly spaces will be ready to be booked and indoor programming will improve.

Past thirty day period, library officials instructed ARLnow that they didn’t have a established day for a comprehensive reopening. Though this isn’t a restoration of each and every pre-pandemic service or operation stage — hrs continue to be confined and libraries are nonetheless shut on Sundays, for case in point — it signifies an expansion of companies.

Kresh says they were equipped to carry out this because vaccinate costs are going up, Virginia has loosened limits and the county lifted a using the services of freeze in March.

“We’ve been in choosing method for the previous several weeks,” Kresh claimed. “I’m hoping by the end of the summer months we will be all set to open up up the other two [library] destinations.”

Kresh claims the hope is that by the stop of 2021, if not faster, Arlington library branches will absolutely return to pre-pandemic expert services and operations.

“That is my absolute mentioned objective,” she suggests. “And I will operate like crazy to make it materialize.”