Downtown, Shadle libraries set for remodels which will take a year and a half at minimum

Downtown, Shadle libraries set for remodels which will take a year and a half at minimum

Starting next year, thousands in Spokane will have to adjust to life without the city’s biggest libraries, as the downtown and Shadle branches are set to shut down temporarily for renovations.

Last fall, voters approved a $77 million library bond for upgrades, remodels, and additions to Spokane’s library system — and those changes cannot go into effect if the doors to these branches stay open.

Amanda Donovan with the Spokane Public Library said the Shadle branch will close for a year and a half starting at the end of December.

“I totally understand the wanting to expand, make it bigger, you know, I get that. I’m kind of torn. I like it like it is,” said former school librarian Brooke Sant of the Shadle branch. “It’s easily accessible, it’s quiet, it’s clean and it’s small.”

After it’s renovated, the Shadle branch will nearly double in size from 17,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet. During the remodel, the Spokane Public Library will open a temporary location inside the NorthTown Mall across from the Blue Zoo Aquarium.

“It’s a bummer for me, but that’s just me personally,” Sant said. “I mean, I get that they have to move it. So, better they move it than shut it down.”

Donovan said the temporary location will obviously be smaller, but will still be stocked with books, movies, and CDs for people to check out.

“We’re working hard to make sure that people have continued access to services through these alternate locations and also, we’re on time, on budget we’re working hard,” Donovan said. “They’re big projects, so they take a lot of time and thought and energy, so I know it feels like a long time but in the end I think it’s really gonna be worth it.”

Donovan said the downtown branch will close for two years starting in the spring. Staff hasn’t landed on a temporary location for that branch yet. Donovan said the library system will not see any changes to staffing.

The downtown and Shadle remodels will mark the start of a five-year construction plan for libraries across the city. Click here for the full timeline.