Renovated library will be bigger, more beautiful
By LISA BUIE
Published January 26, 2007
For more than a year, Land O'Lakes parents wanting to take their children to a library for story time have had to hit the road.
But bibliophiles, take heart: The wait is nearly over.
If all goes as planned, Pasco County library officials will throw open the doors to an upgraded, expanded building on Collier Parkway in late March. The new library will nearly double in size, going from 10,000 to 18,000 square feet.
And once visitors get a look at the huge children's area with bird sculptures suspended from the ceiling, the extra computer rooms and the meeting room complete with kitchenette, director Linda Allen says, the wait will have been worth it.
"Now it's going to be beautiful," Allen said as she rattled off a list of the lush new plants that will adorn the islands in a parking lot twice as big as the old one.
Magnolia, juniper, plumbago, to name just a few. Live oak and crepe myrtle trees were left in place.
The theme is native Florida. Look for lots of green.
"We wanted to give it a park-like feel," said Stephen Kershner, Allen's assistant director.
Automatic glass doors open to a lobby with tan ceramic tiles that replaced the brick and carpet. The meeting room is still on the left, but it's about twice as large and has a partition so two smaller groups can meet at the same time. A kitchenette with a sink, microwave and small refrigerator will make the serving of refreshments easier. Need to make a PowerPoint presentation? The room also features two screens. They also can be used to show films on movie nights.
Step through more double doors and you come to the main part of the library. Walls of pastel green trimmed in tan continue the park theme. Even the carpet is green.
An information desk is at the front.
"It used to be all the way at the back," Kershner said.
To the left, in the wing that used to house the entire library, is the expanded children's room.
With heron and roseate spoonbill sculptures suspended from the atrium and desks with jungle animal designs, the room invites kids to have fun, Allen said.
"This will be unique to this library," Allen said of the bird sculptures.
The room is separated from the rest of the library by glass that contains noise yet still allows parents to keep an eye on their little ones.
"We wanted a place where kids could be kids but they wouldn't disturb the adult patrons," she said.
A story room features floors made of recycled tires to allow kids to stretch out for story time. It also makes for easier cleanups.
The area also has enclosed areas for kids who need to study quietly or receive tutoring.
Step across the library and you'll come to the adult section. It also features bird sculptures and has 12 computer stations. The branch used to have only six.
Friends of the Library, which used to run book sales on a table in the front, has its own room.
The area will be a lot more like Barnes & Noble instead of the stereotypical library. Patrons can sit in plush easy chairs and sip nonalcoholic beverages, as long as the cups have lids.
On the front is a teen room complete with plush rocking chairs and more computers. The room also has Plexiglas dividers that can be used to insert posters.
On the outside, one of the most welcome additions is sure to be a new book drop. The drop has two slots: a lower one for cars and a higher one for vans and SUVs.
The Land O'Lakes branch is still open at 3032 Collier Parkway during the expansion and renovation. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday.
For more information, call (813) 929-1214 or visit pascolibraries.org.
[Last modified January 25, 2007, 08:49:07]
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