|A renovated lobby and new automated check-in system greeted Mountain View residents on Monday morning when the library reopened its doors after a month of construction.
Renovations began in early February to update technology and provide more open space and reading areas with better views of Pioneer Park.
"It was crowded and dark," said Karen Burnett, director of library services. "I tried to take advantage of the spaces we had and use them better."
The library entrance is now more wide-open, with a visible welcome desk and display area, and there are approximately 35 new chairs, most of them looking out onto the park. There are also more spaces for old-fashioned reading, with a quiet room that prohibits laptops and talking, and staffers converted a room with copy machines into a group study area.
"They moved a lot of the references upstairs, so the staff can answer questions," said Joanne Contreras, library assistant in circulation. "The library is nice and very open."
In addition to the layout changes, the library has two additional self check-out machines, a new and more personalized online catalog and an instructional collection for English language learners.
Other major changes include check in and sorting equipment, a drive-up return in the parking garage, a five-minute drop-off zone in front of the library and a digital board to update customers about new activities and programs
Burnett estimated the total cost of renovation and upgrades at approximately $1.5 million.
As part of the changes, library staffers are better equipped to assist customers. Employees also will be walking around the library, available to help, Burnett said.
"Instead of sitting at a desk, we are now out assisting people if they need it," she said.
Friends of Mountain View Library will host a reopening celebration on Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 9:50 a.m. The celebration will include refreshments and tours.
Besides last-minute touches to the display area, most renovations are finished, Burnett said, and customers already have been using the updated technology.
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