Jefferson County Library to move during renovations

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT HADLOCK ญญญญ— The Jefferson County Library is preparing for a scheduled renovation that will result in its operating out of a temporary location for several months.

According to Meredith Wagner, the library’s assistant director, “We are going to start contacting our customers next week to let them know that the remodel is happening,”

“It is a big change for people,” she said, “but it is also an opportunity for people to learn what we are going to do with the remodel.”

The aim is to make the library a more welcoming and modern facility, said Library Director Ray Serebrin.

The library located at 620 Cedar Ave. in Port Hadlock is scheduled to close Dec. 2 and to reopen after about two weeks at its temporary location, 51 Colwell Road, which is across from Circle and Square Auto Care on Rhody Drive.

The library will be moving portions of its collection to the 5,000-square-foot space, which is less than half the size of the current location.

The temporary location will be a bare-bones operation with no wireless service and a smaller selection of materials, though patrons will be able to order items from the main collection.

The renovation is estimated to cost $700,000, $300,000 from an earmarked library fund and the remainder through a private
fundraising campaign.

As of Friday the library was about $6,000 shy of the goal, according to Serebrin.

The project is less ambitions than an $8.4 million plan that was defeated by the voters in August 2011.

If it had been approved, the measure would have raised property taxes by $44 a year for 20 years for a house valued at $250,000, which is the average home value in the library district.

“After we lost the bond issue, the conditions that led to the proposal still existed; we were still overcrowded and needed more resources,” Serebrin said.

“So we looked at other ways to accomplish this.”

Instead of a massive rebuild, the renovation project will add about 500 square feet to the public library area and reconfigure that space in order to make the library holdings more accessible.

The bookmobile barn attached to the main building will be replaced by an auxiliary building, and the current area will be renovated and used for storage.

Displays will be streamlined to make the library more welcoming.

Shelves will be reoriented to better display the front of a book, while the media will be moved to the back corner “in the same way that a supermarket displays milk and eggs,” Serebrin said.

Other improvements include redesigned seating and lounge space; improved layout to ease congestion; better lighting and the new self-checkout stations.

Serebrin said the temporary location will be able to serve the basic needs of people who want to use the library with some restrictions.

The most significant is a lack of space; lack of WiFi ibecause there will be no place for people to sit down; and a parking lot that could have difficulty accommodating all of the patrons.

But once the project is finished, it will be worth the wait, Serebrin said.

“When you come in here any afternoon, the place is jammed, and you see scores of people everywhere,” he said.

“It gives us pain to cut back our services,” he said.

“But we are doing this (renovation) for a greater purpose, to create a more navigable, comfortable and useful library for the public.”

Serebrin acknowledged that libraries have changed from the days when librarians would intimidate anyone who dared to make a sound but said that some people still visit libraries in search of quiet.

“For much of our clientele, who may be older, they have the idea that there may be a sense of tranquility and repose in a library.” he said.

“Right now, we don’t have it at all, so part of the effort was to create zones of tranquillity that allow people to study, read and think and create a little bit of space that provides a sort of time out from the crazy world we are living in.”

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: October 28. 2012 5:27PM
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