After months of renovations, the main floor of Cabarrus County Library's downtown Concord branch is expected to reopen on May 7.
Some upgrades included in the $800,000 private project are aesthetic. Others - panoramic views and age-appropriate furniture and computers - will enhance the library experience.
The second-floor renovations are expected to be complete by June 13 for the start of the county's summer reading program. A tentative ribbon-cutting date is June 18.
The two-story building, also known as the Charles A. Cannon Memorial Library, was built in 1977 and has essentially remained the same since it was constructed, but library services and related technologies have changed dramatically during the last three decades, said library director Dana Eure.
"The library building has not successfully met those changes; it has merely accommodated them," she said in an email. "The renovation has allowed us to redefine the use of many of the spaces in the library. As a result, patrons will experience a much improved library that will better meet their needs."
Cabarrus County Libraries in Kannapolis and Mount Pleasant share the Charles A. Cannon Memorial Library name. The project is being funded by private donations from Mariam Cannon Hayes, her estate and The Cannon Foundation.
Here are changes:
An expanded circulation desk and a larger service desk provide a central point to check out materials.
Adult fiction and non-fiction display shelving get an upgrade, and the selection will be wheel-chair accessible.
The teen area will consist of age-appropriate books and materials as well as teen-friendly furniture.
Public Internet computers will be re-positioned from the center of the room to a back corner for better accessibility.
The reading area will be relocated to the center of the room.
Design elements ensure maximum visibility across the room and help patrons navigate the library more easily.
Located on the first floor, the library's former bookmobile garage will be made into a local history room, where staff can assist patrons with research.
An expanded children's room in the existing gallery space will be incorporated into the children's room, allowing more space for collections, children's computers and child-friendly shelving and furniture.
A storage room will be converted into a room for children's programming. Because materials can't be checked out upstairs following the upgrades, staff is expected to have more time to host children's programming.
A conference room will be converted to be more versatile for and more accessible to the public. The current conference room will be converted to staff offices.
The auditorium will remain, the same but staff workspaces will be refurbished with ergonomic furniture.