By Amanda Rogers
The Mansfield Public Library is experiencing some growing pains.
Construction on the library’s expansion and renovation is two months ahead of schedule, which means the facility will be closed this summer, starting May 31.
“We had not planned to close until August,” said Yolanda Botello, director of library and historical services. “We already had programs planned for the summer, including the summer reading club. We contacted all of our colleagues with usable space – the Farr Best, Historical Museum, MAC, Chris Burkett Center, information center at the Man House. They will all be getting some programs, plus some will be virtual and some will be at Market Street.”
The library will still be checking out books, too.
“We are going to continue to offer curbside service,” Botello said. “The staff will work in a small part of the building and have access to 50 percent of the collection. COVID really set us up for this. We will take books out to the cars and have book lockers in front of the building for basically 24-hour pickup. We’re asking for that to only be used after hours.”
The Mansfield library will still have a platform for ebooks, audiobooks and videostreaming, plus a courier service for books from the Arlington Public Library.
Botello said she hopes the renovations will be completed by this fall.
The $3.2 million expansion and renovation of the library was planned to start in 2019, but was put on hold due to the pandemic, Botello said. The city broke ground on the expansion in November 2021. The 4,000-square-foot expansion will include a programming room and children’s space with a movable wall between, plus family restrooms, offices, work space and an additional service area.
The rest of the library will be renovated and spread out, Botello said.
“We are out of space right now,” she said.
The glass partition in the front of the library will be coming down to add usable space, plus there will be new carpet, paint, fixtures, lighting and a sprinkler system. The library will also get new tables and chairs. The large tree with reading nook in the children’s area will not survive the move, though, she said, since there is no way to dismantle it and reassemble it.
“We’re calling it a full facelift,” Botello said. “It will change how we operate. We are really excited for it. This was going to be our first summer back (after the pandemic), but it will be worth it in the end.”
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.