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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Library prepares pop-up space in NorthTown Mall in wake of Shadle branch’s temporary closure

The Spokane County Library District opened the Bookend inside the Spokane Valley Mall in 2017. The Spokane city library system will follow the county’s lead and open a branch in a mall – Northtown Mall – to serve patrons while the Shadle branch is closed for remodeling. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Tucked away beside a Buffalo Wild Wings and an aquarium, a literary sanctuary awaits local book lovers.

Patrons will be able to check out the Spokane Public Library’s newest location at the NorthTown Mall starting today.

The library is set to open its first of two temporary branches planned in 2020. In place of its Shadle branch, which is undergoing renovations, the library system will open a small spot near the mall’s entrance.

In March, the library expects to open a temporary location on the second floor of the Spokane Transit Authority plaza while the downtown branch undergoes a nearly two-year renovation.

The Shadle branch is being remodeled to not only nearly double its footprint but also bring new amenities to the space. The work is expected to last at least a year.

In the meantime, patrons will be welcome to use a truncated array of services at the NorthTown Mall pop-up, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

The temporary location will feature a curated collection of books and DVDs. Patrons will be able to pick up books on hold, jump on one of a handful of internet-ready computers and attend semiweekly story times and other events.

The temporary branch is even receiving a name befitting of its purpose: “To Be Continued: A Spokane Public Library.”

The downtown and Shadle library branches are the only two that are expected to temporarily close as part of the system’s massive restructuring through a $77 million property tax bond approved by voters in 2018.

The plan calls for the construction of three new libraries: at Shaw Middle School, in East Central at Liberty Park and adjacent to the Libby Center on East Sprague. Bond funds also will be used to renovate the Indian Trail and South Hill branches.

With 30,000 square feet of additional space, the Shadle Branch will feature a renovated children’s area, new meeting space and a quiet area. It closed on Dec. 22.

The library hopes to open its provisional spot at the STA Plaza on March 2, following modest renovations to the second floor, which formerly housed a restaurant. Officials had not initially planned for a full closure of the downtown branch, but chose that route when the renovation’s impact on the branch’s functionality and safety became clear. The downtown branch is expected to close on Feb. 29.

Spokane Public Library will not lay off staff, but does plan to reassign certain employees to different tasks during the closures.