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The renovation of the Salida Library is finished and the library leadership is now allowing the public in to see its improvements.  Ark Valley Voice recently took a pre-opening tour and has highlighted some of the new features.

Staff says it hopes the expanded library will be the center of the community; evolving their services as well as offering many classes to meet changing needs, while still honoring traditional library functions. Here are some of the highlights:

Addition to Salida Regional Library nearing completion at E and Fourth Streets. Photo by Merrell Bergin

The former Children’s section has been turned into a computer workstation space. Since computers were previously in the basement, this new location allows for easier accessibility and technical support. New offices have also been added for staff within this area. The doors to the offices came out of the old house next door and have been repurposed. Similarly, bricks found in the basement were used to repair an exterior wall.

Newspapers and magazines have been moved to the former archive section to allow more room for readers to spread out, away from the main collection.

The large print section has been expanded, with more shelving, allowing for more titles to move out of storage. Every month the Library receives new books that remain in the “new” category for three months. Staff is constantly rotating the new material to the main collection.

The library was able to expand the Fiction section all the way to the southwest end of the main collection after tucking the young adult/teen genre into the northwest corner. This has allowed for a comfortable space so youth may hang out and read on their own.

The children’s area is located in the new addition with lots of lighting and tiered seating for storytelling.  Also new —  an outdoor fenced play area with Astroturf, seating, and shade structures.

Another big piece of the addition; three new study rooms with whiteboards and one large meeting room with a built in LCD projector and kitchenette. This addition will fill a big need for nonprofit groups in need of meeting space. Nonprofit groups can put down a security deposit which is refundable. There is no charge for renting the room itself, but advance reservations are required.

The architect for the addition and remodel was Ratio Architects and H.W. Houston of Pueblo served as a general contractor.

The new addition makes use of the long narrow lot size formerly occupied by the house next door.

Overall the new spaces are lighted and airy. In addition to the new areas, there is a new water hydration station along with additional restrooms. More parking has also been added at the rear (east end of the building) and the addition has full basement storage to allow for future use.

The library has just reopened (for ten people at a time) for browsing, check-outs, and computer usage.  Masks are mandatory and browsing time is limited to no more than thirty minutes. Patrons with questions about current service offerings may call 719-539-4826  or consult the Library website before they visit for more information.

Inter-library loan service is resuming with a limited number of lending libraries, but requests can now be made online. Mesa County and other Western Slope branches are the major lending partners for the Salida Library. Returns to the library are sanitized with a bleach solution, a new process since the pandemic started.