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Library back and running after reopening
More than 120 people packed into the newly renovated Port Orchard Library after it opened its doors after a two-month closure on Nov. 1.
The “Renovation Celebration” reopening ceremony attracted more than 120 people as the Port Orchard Library unveiled its newly renovated interior.
“I am so excited and it’s been an amazing journey,” said Kathleen Wilson, branch manager.
Wilson said the project would not have happened without the efforts of Kitsap Regional Library Director Jill Jean.
“This building really shows what can truly happen when people come together and form a wonderful partnership,” Jean said. “What you see here is the result of a lot of creativity, a lot of tenacity and a lot of people putting forth a gigantic effort.”
Jean thanked the City of Port Orchard for the joint partnership, along with the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation, Friends of the Port Orchard Library, South Kitsap Rotary, Phil Grey Foundation, Port Orchard Rotary and Fred Meyer Foundation
“It originally started out to be a carpeting project,” said Jean, laughing.
Jean noted that the Friends of the Port Orchard Library “really stepped out” to raise additional funds that were needed for the renovation project.
“A project like this has tons of unsung heroes,” Jean said.
She thanked Terry Chamberlin with FPH Construction, Inc., of Bremerton — the project contractor; Kip Bankart, facility supply manager; John Bryan, Port Orchard facility staff member; Susan Whitford, director of Technology and Facilities, and Wilson.
“You talk about tenacity, these two women (Whitford and Wilson) come together they can create something spectacular,” Jean said. “If you only knew the amount of dollars we did not spend on the project, it was because of these two women.”
Jean also thanked the library staff.
“You helped us put it all together,” Jean said. “You were deployed for several months and spread your wonderful talents to other library branches. You’ve got the best ‘digs’ in town.”
KRL Board of Trustees President John Lyall also thanked Wilson and the library staff for their hard work.
“I was shocked to find out how little money we spent on the renovations,” Lyall said. “I hope you enjoy your new library.”
Local authors Debbie Macomber and Frank Olson also were on hand for the reopening.
The renovation includes replacement of carpeting, moving and redesigning the staff area and combining the circulation and reference desks into one service desk.
Wilson said the periodical section was moved to the front of the library and the old checkout desk was removed.
“We got our new single-service area with our references and customer service,” Wilson said.
She said the large reference desk was removed and the library got new media shelves, the computer area and non-fiction section were rearranged
“We created a community living room with all new furniture,” Wilson said.
“We have a lot more place where people can set. We’ve rearranged our shelf to blend with the lighting. It makes a big difference.”
The meeting rooms have new tables and furniture and the children’s reading room received new carpet.
“This is fantastic,” said Grace Powers, a member of the Friends of the Bremerton Library.
Wilson also is expecting several thousand books, which were checked out to help with the renovations, to be trickling in over the next few weeks.
The library has been at its present location since 1984. In 1995, a major remodel added the back portion of the building, including the meeting room.