Beach Library Relocation Plan Taking Shape
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER - The good news for Clearwater Beach residents and visitors is that the beach branch of the Clearwater Library has been spared the closure that was planned earlier this year as a budget-cutting move.
The not-so-good news is that the branch will be closed for a period of about 5 weeks while it is relocated to a portable building that will be placed in the parking lot of the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center.
Clearwater Library System Director Barbara Pickell explained that the space that the beach branch occupies at Pelican Walk must be vacated by October 1. The branch will remain open through August 24, then, with the exception of the book drop-off, it will close while its contents are moved. The branch is planned to reopen in its temporary facility on October 1.
Ultimately, the beach library will find a permanent home courtesy of a planned expansion of the beach rec center. Because of FEMA rules, that expansion is limited to a capital cost of $325-thousand according to Pickell, enough money to add about 1500 square feet for library use.
While that space is smaller than the current facility, Pickell said, "We believe that we can target the needs for the beach community. We know what's circulating out there, what's being used, so we can focus in on those areas." The children's collection will likely be reduced; "It will be limited because there has been very limited use," Pickell said.
But Pickell added, "We know that adult fiction goes very well, so we'll probably have a larger adult fiction section."
The construction timetable for the rec center expansion has not yet been firmly established, but Pickell offered an estimate; "We're probably looking at something that would be finished by about May or June [of 2008]."
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