At last, the 100-year-old library in the Village by the Sea is ready for renovation.
The significant update will transform the beloved building on Second Street that has served as a community gathering space for the past century. With the addition of the library’s lower level, the project will add 1,400 square feet to the space.
Back in 2021, Sno-Isle Libraries received a $700,000 capital improvement grant from the state for the project, which involves meeting and exceeding accessibility standards. Since then, Friends of the Langley Library contributed $30,000 and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation provided $15,000. The total project cost is $4 million, which is double of what was expected in 2023.
“In order to accomplish the full scope that was identified, this is where we ended up,” said Chy Ross, Assistant Director of Capital Strategy and Planning. “I mean, I think honestly too like anyone has experienced, costs have been rising in recent times on everything.”
The remodel will reconfigure library square footage to add a meeting room, among other things. It will also make better use of the library’s basement, which is currently only accessible from outside the building and was previously utilized for storage. Once renovated, patrons will be able to find more of the library’s collection and a lounge area downstairs.
The renovation is also an opportunity to make the Langley Library more energy efficient. Ross said the project is targeting LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — silver certification, which means the carbon footprint for the library building and operations will be greatly reduced.
Assistant Director of Strategic Relations Susan Hempstead said Sno-Isle Libraries shares the values of the community around climate resiliency, pointing to the library as a place to gather during a power outage or in very cold or hot weather.
Kaley Costello, manager of the Langley Library, said it also provides a steady internet connection for some of South Whidbey’s lesser connected residents.
“A lot of people on the island have very spotty connections,” she said. “It’s out of their hands, whether they like it or not. If your phone drops, your telehealth call drops, all that sorts of things.”
The library’s last day of operations in the old space before construction begins is Saturday, Feb. 17. Costello said community members have been extremely supportive, with at least one offer to start a meal train for library staff members as they prepare to move out of the space.
Renovation will begin Feb. 20 and is expected to last nine to 12 months. Until the library reopens in late 2024 or early 2025, patrons can visit rooms 114 and 115 in the nearby South Whidbey Community Center where a pop-up operation will occur. Costello said while staff is still working on logistics, they’d love to help patrons with browsing, hold pick-ups and self-checkouts.