The library is typically seen as a place to find peace and quiet. However, at the downtown branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, it has been anything but quiet for the last while. The branch has been under construction for nearly two years — a little longer than first expected.
“We’re a few months late, but we’ve started the move in process,” director of branch experience, Laura Carter said as she chuckled. “Most of the new shelving has been installed and the movers are working (to bring) the books over into the library.”
The library was originally supposed to open during the spring of 2018, but a series of unexpected problems — including the discovery of asbestos in the ceiling and walls, as well as unforeseen electrical work — are responsible for the delays.
“You really don’t know, in a building that’s this old, what you’re going to get until you start breaking it apart,” Carter admitted. “You’ve got the drawings, you think you know what things are.”
The biggest delay however, was a flood in August when water poured in from areas exposed because of the construction work.
But with the finish finally in sight, library management are happy to be able to put this nearly two-year-long chapter behind them, and to move out of the temporary Wellington Street branch.
“It has been a challenge,” Carter said. “It’s a smaller location, there’s not as much room to sit and study and the collection is not as large.”
Despite the nine month delay, officials say the nearly $14-million renovation remains on budget. Now comes the big job of moving everything back to the newly-revamped spaces, with the library’s tentative reopening date set for some time in mid-January.