The Portage District Library is closed until early May, 2021. It's moving to a temporary location while its building is expanded.
Colin Whitehurst is the library's marketing manager. "We're going to be adding a two-floor expansion on the east side of the building, so it's the back of the building. And so that expansion is going to add 13,000 square feet to the existing building. We're going to a 20-percent increase in space."
The project is part of a ten-year, $13-million millage Portage voters approved in 2019.
Whitehurst says the expansion will include more meeting rooms as well as a new "Creation Station."
"(It's) really providing room and and space for those tools that allow people to make creative projects. Our maker space will have a room where we can do messy programs and build and make things in there."
The addition will also include a new home for the Portage District Library's regional history collection and better access to the building, especially for the disabled. Whitehurst says the project also includes expansion of its popular preschool room and the addition of family restrooms and rooms for nursing mothers. He says the expansion is needed to accommodate expected growth the Portage's population over the next decade.
Anyone with books or other material from the library should hold onto it for a while. Whitehurst says patrons can help the move to its temporary location by keeping books until the site at 5528 Portage Road across from the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport opens in a few weeks.
"Most of our due dates did get pushed back. But, if they have any materials, if they could hold onto them and return them after the 10th, we're not charging any overdue fines."
Whitehurst says the Portage District Library plans to reopen its expanded permanent location in April 2022.