Principal Architect with Long & Associates, Paul Portal, left, joined by Israel Grajales, Project Manager with Hillsborough County's Architecture Services talk to residents about the upcoming Bloomingdale regional Library expansion project during a recent Bloomingdale Friends of the Library membership meeting.

During its scheduled fall membership meeting held last month, Bloomingdale Friends of the Library representatives, along with area residents and avid library goers got an update of the library’s expansion project, now slated for completion in 2013.
The 25 people in attendance welcomed project manager and Principal Architect with Long & Associates, Paul Portal, who was joined by Israel Grajales, Project Manager with Hillsborough County’s Architecture Services.
The meeting commenced with the two guests showing a draft of the plan as well as presented preliminary drawings of the upcoming 10,000-sq.-ft. expansion of the currently 15,000-sq.-ft. facility located at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico.
Portal explained the plan to the group, which then culminated in a positive discussion regarding the Friends of the Library Book Ends Bookstore space, vending cafe in the lobby, expanded Friends space, and new storage area as well as how they should be configured.
The expansion will feature an additional community room with partitions totaling 2,000 sq. feet and a seating capacity of 200; two new multipurpose rooms for library programs, computer classes, and group use; a new children’s room nearly double the size of the existing room; a brand new “Teen Central” space; and an extension of the main reading room with more seating for quiet study.
Along with the expansion, new 12-bin automated check-in and sorting equipment will be installed to save processing time and get returns back on the shelves faster.
“When customers insert their books or DVDs into a return slot, the items will be checked in instantly and then presorted onto carts via a conveyor system,” said Bloomingdale Friends of the Library president Carol Jones. “The automated system will also provide check in receipts for customers.”
While pleased with the plans, Jones was concerned about the necessity of closing the book store, which earns approximately $2,000 a month and funds library programs,
“The store has to be closed for a couple of months in the midst of the construction,” Jones said. “When completed, however, it will be equipped with WiFi, a vending cafe and some tables.”
Final design is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Construction of the $2.6 million expansion is slated to begin in summer 2012 with substantial completion by fall  2013.
The library will remain open throughout construction.
For more information about the project, please visit

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