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Coupeville Public Library to reopen in March

Coupeville Public Library employee Rabbitt Boyer talks with coworker Lorie King while restocking the books at the expanded library on Alexander Street. The newly renovated library is slated to open in mid-March with the grand opening in April.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Coupeville Public Library employee Rabbitt Boyer talks with coworker Lorie King while restocking the books at the expanded library on Alexander Street. The newly renovated library is slated to open in mid-March with the grand opening in April.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

The Coupeville Library’s temporary location at the Pacific Rim Institute on Parker Road closed this week. The closure was necessary to allow workers to move materials and furniture into the expanded library building that is set to open sometime in March.

A date hasn’t been set yet as to when the library, located on Alexander Street in Coupeville, will open. Officials are waiting for new furniture to be delivered and staff and volunteers need to be trained.

“It’s hard to have staff in two places at once,” District Manager Becky Bolte said.

The expanded library, which was funded by a $2.3 million bond election voters approved in 2008, is more than double the size of the old building. Homeowners will pay 7 cents per $1,000 assessed property value to pay off the bonds for the library expansion.

The larger building provides a welcoming place for residents in an environmentally efficient building.

“We are very, very excited, said Leslie Franzen, librarian.

One area that is sure to get a lot of use by residents is the new community meeting room, which can be cordoned off from the rest of the library, allowing for use after hours.

Officials said area residents asked for a community room as part of the expanded library. The one that was put into the 6,000-square-foot building seats up to 110 people. During a recent visit to the library, the staff was busy training the 50 or so volunteers. Bolte said that the volunteers will help provide tours to patrons.

The library also has a “living room” space, which provides patrons a relaxing area with large windows that provide natural lighting and a gas-powered fireplace. Residents can even check out laptops and use them in the library area.

Children and teens will also have their own place in the library. The children’s room features a pint-sized, serpentine table for activities along with computer access. The teen area features large acoustical panels on the ceiling, which can absorb noise.

“They work in groups a lot and they need a place where they can meet,” Bolte said. She added that the acoustical panels were added when the bid for construction came in lower than expected.

The rooftop solar panels are apparent to any passing motorist. Installed by Whidbey Sun and Wind, the panels will produce approximately 12,000 kilowatts of energy per year. The library features a host of environmentally friendly features including energy efficient mechanical equipment, abundant daylight and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

The Coupeville Public Library will also feature the work of local artists in the building’s lobby. A bronze cat commemorating the efforts of local volunteer Janet Enzmann is sitting on a customized table near the building’s main entrance. The bronze sculpture was purchased through donations.

While the library is scheduled to open in mid-March, the grand opening won’t take place until April. A flurry of events are being planned to mark the historic occasion in Island County’s most historic town.

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