The second floor of the downtown branch of Red Deer Public Library reopened to the public last week.
Construction started in December to install a new ceiling and lighting, along with other improvements on Level 2 of the Centennial wing that is home to the Adult Fiction and Audiovisual sections.
Library CEO Christina Wilson said the ceiling was raised as much as possible and yellowed coved light fixtures were replaced to create a much more bright and airy atmosphere.
“It’s not contoured in anyway so just having a flat ceiling makes Level 2 feel a lot more open,” Wilson said on Tuesday.
“It was a surprisingly smooth project. We hope the community really enjoys it.”
She said renovations were originally suppose to happen in 2012 when similar work was done on Level 4 but there was not enough funding to do both floors.
Other changes to Level 2 include:
• Light bulbs that save energy and last longer replaced fluorescent lights to reduce maintenance costs and improve the ambience.
• Installation of a fountain with filtered water and bottle filler for adults near the videos. The only other water fountain is in the children’s department.
• Ducts and ceiling were inspected for asbestos and none was found. Rugs, linoleum and windows were cleaned.
• Wiring and cables were reorganized in the ceiling for future flexibility.
• Some shelving was painted as well as the walls. Red feature walls were added.
“The area looks a lot brighter because we did have wooden bookshelves circling the exterior walls and they were painted with a lighter coloured paint. The plan really is for those bookshelves to disappear into the wall,” Wilson said.
Capital funding for the $380,000 project came from the city. The library also applied for a provincial grant and is waiting for a reply.
She said the next project for Level 2 will be to create an innovation lab, or makerspace. Cable trays are attached to the ceiling near the back of the level in preparation for the lab. Focusing on creativity is part of the library’s service plan.
Wilson said Red Deer’s library has been one of the four biggest public libraries in Alberta with construction or renovations underway at main branches. Red Deer was the first to finish.
“We’re changing physically and virtually into being the community’s hub.”
An official opening of Level 2 will be held later this month. The date has yet to be announced.