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Durham County Library Prepares To Close For Major Renovation

Durham County Library, Books, Durham City, Bond Issue
Durham County Library

There’s good news for Durham County Library patrons and some not so good news. The good news is the main branch of the Durham County Library is about to undergo a multi-million dollar makeover – a full reconfiguration.  The bad news - the library will close January 15 and won’t reopen until 2019.

“I mean I hate that it’s going to be closed for two years but it’s going to look nice when they finish, it’s going to be real nice," said Annette Parker, a patron who visits the downtown library with her grandson several times a week.

The new library on Roxboro Street will be bigger with lots of glass, technology, cultural space and an auditorium that would seat 250 people.

Library Director Tammy Baggett-Best said the project has been a long time coming.

“It’s really a dream come true. The renovation of Main has been pushed back year, after year, after year," said Baggett-Best. "So with the bond passing in November our dream is really becoming a reality. And the renovation is really a transformation of the main library.”

Baggett-Best called the project the “library of the future." The Raleigh firm Vines Architecture was selected to design the new library.

During the renovation, resources and staff will move to the six regional branches and to space at Northgate Mall. Duke University storage will house many items until the projected 2019 library re-opening. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the Durham County Library had more than 432,000 visitors.

County residents approved a $44 million bond package to help pay for the renovation project.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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