Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 17, 2010

Main library nears completion

Renovation project on schedule for downtown branch.

Wednesday the staircase was under construction at the Kokomo Howard County Public Library Main Branch, but almost everything else in the grand central stairwell was finished.

Carpet layers were busy downstairs, as the staff office spaces were missing only baseboards and electrical outlets.

As library staffers toured the building, they were already mentally arranging the furniture. Library director Charles Joray was showing where a series of photographs will hang on the walls, and where stained glass will grace the new genealogy section.

It’s all on schedule to finish at the end of July, then library officials expect to need a month to move in. If everything continues on pace, Joray said, the $3.4 million renovation will be completed before the one-year anniversary of the building’s closing, Sept. 27.

Apart from the four massive window bays, the exterior of the building will look largely the same.

But even 80 percent complete, the interior looks nothing like it did before.

Wednesday, natural sunlight streamed into the building, making the fluorescent lighting on the top two floors seem superfluous.

When the building opens, visitors will go upstairs to visit the stacks, but kids will stay on the main floor to visit the children’s department. A curved checkout desk will dominate the middle of the ground floor, while on the east end, a kiosk area with tables and chairs will provide a place to take a break.

Comfortable chairs and tables will be placed next to most of the window bays, giving readers a chance to enjoy the streaming sunlight.

The main floor will be busy and bustling, while the upstairs will be quiet and relaxed.

• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via e-mail at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

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