Charlotte's Main Library uptown and ImaginOn will be closed for nearly a week during the Democratic National Convention in September, due to concerns over security, safety and challenges with parking and public access.
Closing to the public will likely help continued discussions of renting parts of the uptown buildings for DNC-related events, including one request to use ImaginOn for 12 days at a potential cost of $126,900.
However, library officials say the decision to close was made before rental requests started arriving.
Current plans call for redeploying library staff from Main and ImaginOn to other library branches near uptown, in anticipation of patrons visiting other branches for service.
On average, about 7,000 people a week visit the Main Library and more than 6,000 visit ImaginOn.
The two facilities will close Sept. 2 through Sept. 7, and possibly Saturday Sept. 8. Labor Day falls within that period, when the library would be closed anyway, officials said.
Library officials noted at a Thursday meeting that they have seen a spike in requests to rent parts of the uptown facilities during the DNC.
Chief among those requests is "an interested party" that is negotiating to rent a large part of ImaginOn for 12 days. That group, unnamed due to a confidentiality agreement, is specifically interested in the theaters of the children's library, which have a combined 800 seats, officials said.
That group may have its own press conference to announce the event, should an agreement be reached in coming weeks, said Vick Phillips, CEO of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
Library trustees agreed Thursday on a rental price of $126,900, but also gave Phillips the leeway to negotiate, should more or less space be needed by the group.
Library officials say their discussions about renting began after the board decided to close uptown facilities for a week.
It marks the second time in recent months that the library has been approached by a group interested in renting parts of ImaginOn. The first request was withdrawn the first week of January, officials said.
Meanwhile, Phillips said the library continues to get calls and visits from others interested in renting space, which is within a short walk of DNC events at Time Warner Cable Arena.
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