Wichita’s Central Library downtown will close for good on May 6 after more than 50 years of service. Library staff members are preparing for the move to the new Advanced Learning Library which is set to open in mid-June.
The modern new library at Second Street and McLean is nearly complete. Crews are now setting up the building technologies and installing hundreds of bookshelves.
A moving company has been selected. Bids have been awarded for new furniture.
Don Barry, chairman of the Wichita Public Library Foundation Board of Directors, says a capital campaign exceeded its goal so the extra money will be used to enhance the facility and technology.
"The library space, not just for teens, kids and all of that has been expanded and will include resources and amenities to encourage the development of 21st Century learning skills," Barry says.
The campaign funded a 10,000 square feet addition to the final design of the building.
The campaign. which began in 2014, raised $8.8 million in gifts, pledges and in-kind services toward the total cost of the $37 million Advanced Learning Library.
Cynthia Berner, director of libraries for the City of Wichita, says the new building ensures residents will have equitable access to information.
“Expanded public computing services will enable us to enhance digital access and literacy for everyone in our community. The building will also provide new opportunities for encouraging lifelong learning, supporting small businesses and job seekers, and promoting literacy,” Berner said in a news release.
Planning for a new central library began about 10 years ago, and moved forward in 2016 when Wichita City Council gave final approval for the Advanced Learning Library project.
Central Library customers will notice some disruption of services during the move:
- Customers who designate the Central Library as their preferred pickup location for materials placed on hold will be asked to collect those items from the branch library of their choice.
- Interlibrary loan services will be suspended for all library locations beginning Friday, April 27. Borrowing of materials from other libraries will resume when the Advanced Learning Library opens.
- Book drop service at the Central Library will be suspended as of May 6. Materials may be returned to branch libraries, or to the after-hours materials return at the Advanced Learning Library beginning on May 7.
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