Spokane’s smallest library branch will close Thursday to make way for the opening of its largest.
The temporary second-floor space at the Spokane Transit Authority Plaza downtown will shutter at the end of the day Thursday. It was one of two temporary check-out locations during renovation of the city’s library system funded by a $77 million bond measure passed in 2018, and was intended to take the place of the downtown library branch that closed ahead of renovation in February 2020.
A month later, all municipal library branches closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They didn’t reopen for another 13 months, including the temporary branches at the STA Plaza and in the NorthTown Mall.
Because of the closure, the library does not have great usage numbers for its two temporary branches, said Amanda Donovan, director of marketing and communications for Spokane Public Library.
“There were definitely some dedicated fans of the library that used it,” Donovan said of the downtown branch. That location closed last year around the same time the renovated Shadle Park library branch opened in November.
STA has no immediate plans for the space on the second floor of the plaza, wrote Brandon Rapez-Beatty, STA’s chief operations officer, in an email. It will be used for events as needed, but STA will begin a master facilities planning process in the coming months “that will highlight long-term opportunities for that space,” Rapez-Beatty wrote.
Spokane Public Libraries rented the NorthTown Mall space for $3,000 a month in 2020 and 2021, and the STA Plaza for $10,000 a month from 2020 through the end of June, Donovan said.
The new, $33 million branch will open July 11, with a planned celebration at 9 a.m. to include speakers, food trucks and guided tours of the remodeled building. The library also will host a story time for children at 10:30 a.m. and noon. The event will begin at a new northside entrance on Spokane Falls Boulevard.
Holds and due dates at the downtown STA branch will be extended until July 11 to accommodate patrons. Those with materials can hold onto them until the new branch opens or visit one of the open libraries at Liberty Park, 402 S. Pittsburg St.; Shadle Park, 2111 W. Wellesley Ave.; or Hillyard, 4110 N. Cook St.
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