The Wellington branch of the Palm Beach County Library System, located at 1951 Royal Fern Drive, is closing for nearly a year of renovations starting Thursday, Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. The $4.2 million project should be completed with the library ready to re-open in the latter part of 2021.
The extensive renovations, including the air conditioning chiller replacement, will encompass new lighting, new fixtures and flooring, construction of new interior spaces, fresh painting, design services, and the selection and installation of new furniture.
The goal of the project is to help residents of Wellington and users of the library, through the upgrades and refurbishments, appreciate and utilize the resource as the library continues its ongoing mission to connect communities, inspire thought and enrich lives.
The Wellington branch is one of 17 locations of the Palm Beach County Library System, expected to serve some 141,000 residents and school students in the area over the next decade.
Offering materials in a wide variety of formats to suit the needs of the public, the library carries books in hard copy, paperback and e-books, some in large print, downloadable and audio versions. A range of magazines and research sources are also available. There is a formidable collection of DVDs and music CDs, frequent cultural events and musical performances, as well as computer classes and community meeting space. The branch provides professional research specialists, online and outreach services, and resources on a variety of topics.
Wellington Branch Manager Margaret Barry is excited to see the building get much-needed upgrades.
“The project includes some basic upgrades that are needed, like the chiller for the air conditioner, the new flooring and carpeting, and the upgraded lighting,” she said.
Barry said that the new design repurposes some of the existing space.
“We’re going to be moving some things around inside, moving some of the computer spaces for the public computer users,” she said. “There will be an additional room in which to study, and the copy center will become a media lab. The main library has a creation station, and this will be similar.”
While the library will continue to meet the needs of the public seeking traditional services in traditional formats, there is also a growing need to serve those seeking new technology.
“The media lab has a green screen [for videos] and different technologies for the public to use in creating projects with digital editing,” Barry explained. “It is very exciting. It is very 21st century.”
The library will apply new information technology based on the Wellington community’s needs as indicated by feedback from library members, and at the same time strive toward national benchmarks for services.
Barry said that the new design will move things around, re-purpose some shelving, and add durable, rubberized flooring in the children’s area, meeting room and conference room.
“They will be redoing the member services area, and the service points will be changing, combining the checkout member services, so it has a new, changed look that is visible immediately when you walk in,” Barry said. “They have done everything for the library users first and foremost. All the work, everything is within the public areas. There is no new work being done for the back of the house.”
The last renovation was done almost 14 years ago, in 2007. Due to its heavy use over the years, the building was in need of renovations. The $4.2 million has come through saving surplus money from each annual budget into the capital improvement budget to fund this go-round of renovations and upgrades.
“When it is all finished, and you first walk in the door and see all the changes, upgrades and renovations that have been made, I hope the public sees that we are adapting to 21st-century library users, and I think they will see it immediately upon walking in,” Barry said.
While the Wellington branch is closed, members are encouraged to visit one of the other nearby locations: Royal Palm Beach at 500 Civic Center Way, Greenacres at 3750 Jog Road, the Main Library at 3650 Summit Blvd. and the Okeechobee Blvd. branch at 5689 Okeechobee Blvd.
The bookmobile will visit the Wellington Amphitheater near the Wellington Community Center on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. while the branch is closed. Any materials borrowed prior to the closing of the Wellington branch should be returned to one of the nearby locations. Members are also encouraged to use the wide range of electronic resources and services available through www.pbclibrary.org.