Much needed upgrades have started at the Brighton District Library.

A pretty significant project is underway with the library renovating 90% of the facility. The library was originally built in 1996 and officials say the Brighton community has grown exponentially since that time and the library in its present state has significant space limitations, an aging HVAC system, and outdated décor and configuration. An extensive space needs assessment was conducted, which evaluated the Library’s collection size, staff workflows, facility usage and patron needs and desires as determined by a patron survey. The outcome of the assessment included a comprehensive reconsideration of how the space could be used more effectively. The renovations aim to create a patron centered facility that is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and functional. The project is being funded through an operating millage increase approved by voters in 2015 and the board has been saving up since. Needed improvements to the exterior of the building and grounds began in 2017 with new restrooms, handicapped access to the garden, a new roof, new parking lot and landscaping.

Library Director Cindy Mack says the project is really going to affect services in the years to come and the environment they’re providing for the community. She tells WHMI the library will be busy and noisy but hopes patrons understand but their goal was to be open and accessible - although it might not always be the ideal environment since they’re under construction. The work is happening in the middle of summer, which she says is their busiest time of year but it worked out schedule wise. The project is being done in a phased approach over a five month period so there will be some areas blocked off but Mack says patrons should have access to most materials. She says some work will be minor like meeting rooms will just get a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting. Mack says the youth room will be expanded into the adult area, some interior walls will move and other areas will be re-configured. She says they will also be relocating the teen area to where the computers currently are and creating a one-point-of-service desk to meet patron and customer service needs better. Recently, the check-out desk moved to the information desk area to prepare for a new wall and the information desk moved across the hall into the teen area. New walls went up in the Youth Department and a plastic barrier was placed in the atrium to keep the dust down as demolition of the old check out desk began on Tuesday. The renovation work is scheduled to wrap up in early November. (JM)