Checking it out
After seeing the modern libraries in Breckenridge and Vail, Grand Junction resident Heather Skinner knew Grand Junction’s Central Branch library could use an update.
The update she was hoping for was unveiled Thursday at the renovated library’s grand reopening at 443 N. Sixth St. Construction that began last fall has added 9,000 square feet to the now-45,000-square-foot library. Sunlight bathes readers perched in the library’s new mezzanine and outdoors on various patios. Community rooms will provide space for art and community events such as movie screenings and music performances. The only reminder that this isn’t an entirely new building is the configuration of stairs leading to and from the basement-level computer lab and study areas.
“We’ve been coming to the library for five years. We’re so glad this is here,” Skinner said Thursday morning as she and her daughters, 7-year-old Taylor and 5-year-old Devron, checked out the expanded children’s section. “It’s kind of a main cornerstone of a community.”
“I think it’s really pretty,” added Taylor.
Brian and Joyce Olson said Thursday afternoon they’re glad the library has a more “light and airy” feel with an open concept and more space for the library’s 160,000 items. Joyce Olson said she was happy to see a crowd throughout re-opening day.
“It’s such an improvement and it’s great so many people are enamored with it,” she said.
“It doesn’t look like a Safeway store anymore,” Brian Olson said.
The $7.1 million renovation project required a move to a temporary location in the old Ashley Furniture store at 655 N. First St. and a move back with brief closures in between. Library Director Eve Tallman said the moves and the construction took the work and cooperation of several people but it was worth it.
“We’re super busy and we’re happy to be here,” she said.
Moms Rachille Rusche and Audrey Sonerville said the new library is easier to navigate and will be a fun destination for their kids each week this summer.
“I didn’t have anything to compare it to because the library where I was before was small,” Rusche said. “I was surprised but happy with the way it turned out.”