By Betsy Dolan
A major renovation project at the George Memorial Library in Richmond has prompted an unexpected two month closure of the facility from August 4 through September 29.
The renovations, which started in May, involve upgrades and improvements to the almost 30-year old building, which serves at the main library for the Fort Bend County system.
The closure will occur as work is done on the first floor of the building. Library Director Clara Russell said initial plans were to keep the library open through the renovations but as progress occurred it became apparent that the library would have to close for a period of time.
“It would be very difficult to close off the first-floor areas and still be able to provide services to everyone,” Russell said. “We also know that we will be experiencing interruptions of power during that period, and we don’t want to take any chances with the safety of our patrons and staff.
The make-over is the final phase of a $130-million bond referendum approved by voters in May 2006, which included $24.5 million for three county library projects: the construction of the University Branch Library in Sugar Land and the Sienna Branch Library in Missouri City, and renovations at George Memorial Library.
The library opened in 1986 when the main library moved from its original location by Polly Ryon Hospital in Richmond. Original construction of the 77,000-square-foot building was funded by The George Foundation. The last renovation and expansions were completed in 2002.The renovations will be finished in 2014.
“Once this phase is complete, we can re-open and proceed with renovations in other areas of the library that do not directly impact the public,” Russell said. ” When it is done, George Memorial Library will have additional public space and more amenities that can be enjoyed by everyone.”
From August 4 to September 29, items that have been checked out may be dropped off at any of the nine branch libraries in the Fort Bend County library system.
The pick-up location for items that have been requested and placed on hold for pick up at George Memorial Library, will default to the University Branch Library, on the UH campus in Sugar Land.
Children and adults who are participating in the Summer Reading Club may pick up their rewards at any of the other branch libraries after August 4.