Burton Barr Central Library is the flagship of the Phoenix Public Library’s 17-branch system. Designed by Phoenix-based architect Will Bruder, it opened in 1995. Typically, one million people visit the branch each year.
The city received $9 million in insurance money for needed restorations, according to a report city manager Ed Zuercher submitted to the Mayor and City Council on May 3. At the time, $8.7 million had been spent.
The money paid for a new roof and fire-suppression system for the fifth floor, as well as replacing damaged elements such as flooring and drywall.
You’ll find new public computers on the second and fifth floors, set on new tabletops that have power outlets so patrons can plug in their electronic devices.
That’s important because the library provides more than 800,000 hours of free computer time each year, according to Lee Franklin, community relations manager for Phoenix Public Library.
There were other expenses as well, because the city decided to proceed with several planned renovations while the library was closed for storm-related damage.
That’s where patrons will see the most noticeable differences when the library opens its doors. Here’s what to look for:
• The Children’s Place on the first floor has more than doubled, and now includes over 14,000 square feet with a large story-time space.
• MACH1 on the fourth floor has two new glass-enclosed computer labs, a new sewing area, and a room with several 3D printers.
“We didn’t want to keep the library closed any longer than we had to,” says Lee Franklin, community relations manager for Phoenix Public Library. “We are just excited to get back to our customers.”