‘It’s just an exciting time in Spokane’: Community looks forward to downtown library upgrades

SPOKANE, Wash.– The click-clack of hammers hitting a temporary wall marked an important rewrite to the story of downtown Spokane Friday morning.

City leaders and community members gathered at the Spokane library’s downtown branch for a ceremonial start to a years-long construction project in the heart of the city. The branch will close for two years at the end of February. It will reopen in 2022 with a new look and new programs.

The update will be paid for by a $77 million bond voters passed two years ago. That money will go to renovate the downtown branch and three other locations. It will also pay to build three new libraries across the city.

Ryan Tucker said his family spends a lot of time at the library. Tucker is also a library employee. He said the branch downtown is beautiful now, but he’s excited to see upgrades.

“It’s already pretty spectacular, but with the redesign it’s just going to be mind blowing,” Tucker said.

City of Spokane plans showed that update will include a more robust children’s area, a new cafe, updated computer labs, retail space, and more program rooms.

Councilwoman Betsy Wilkerson, who represents District 2, said this will bring Spokane’s library into the 21st century.

“It’s just exciting times in Spokane and that we are moving forward, that we’re being progressive,” Wilkerson said. “I say yah.”

Many other people are saying the same thing, despite the location being forced to close for two years while renovations happen.

“If you see the plans, it’s like a major city’s library. It is so expansive and so many difference resources,” Tucker said.

Wilkerson hopes new free resources will inspire the next generation.

“So many of our kids today don’t know the possibilities. The library will provide that for them to think outside their neighborhood, outside Spokane, even outside the state of Washington,” Wilkerson said.

The downtown branch is expected to reopen toward the beginning of 2022. A temporary branch will open in the STA Plaza on March 2.

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