An artist rendition of the future expanded Bloomingdale Regional Library welcomes visitors in the facility’s lobby. Boasting of more space, automated check-in and sorting equipment and materials, the 10,000-sq.-ft. expansion project is on schedule and in hopes of completion by the fall of next year.
With the County’s Architecture Services Department’s bid package and the process of hiring a construction firm in motion, area residents, library officials as well as the members of the Friends of the Library are anxiously anticipating the next phase of the Bloomingdale Regional Library’s additional 10,000-sq.-ft. expansion project.
Today, the library boasts of handling close to 60,000 items per month, not to mention the hundreds of programs which welcomes approximately 10,000 in attendance.
“This number will likely grow again this year,” said long-time librarian Eloise Hurst.
The plans to expand the 15,000-sq ft., facility, which opened its doors to the public five years ago as a regional library serving communities in east Hillsborough County including Bloomingdale, Valrico and Lithia, began two years ago.
“This is one of the busiest libraries in the county and there is no doubt we need a bigger facility to accommodate our visitors both young and old,” said Friends of the Library member Carol Jones.
The project has a hard construction budget of approximately $1,850,000, which will include 10,000 sq. ft. of new space and roughly 3,600 sq. ft. of renovations to the existing facility.
Major features include an additional community room, a new children’s room, a brand new “Teen Central” space and additional rooms for meetings and quiet study.
While Jones was excited about the lobby renovations that include the addition of a vending café and a revamped, expanded Book Ends Book Store with an adjacent storage room for use by the Friends, she emphasized the installation of new automated check-in and sorting equipment designed to save processing time and get returns back on the shelves faster.
The Bloomingdale Library currently houses a collection of more than 100,000 items for all ages – a broad range of popular fiction, nonfiction, DVDs, music CDs, books on CD, periodicals and Spanish language materials.
“For such a busy place as this one, new technology is a must,” Jones said.
Library staff, including David Wullschleger, hoped to see construction as early as late 2011, but according to library officials substantial completion of the project is expected by fall 2013. The library will remain open throughout the renovation.
“The goal of the project is twofold,” Wullschleger said. “The first is to keep the library open and fully functioning during the construction, while providing people with expanded space for meetings and other community events.”
The Friends of the Library will hold its fall membership meeting on Monday, September
24, at 7 p.m. at the library and, as always, they welcome all the support and help from members of the community.
For more information please visit www.hcpl.org or call 273-3652.