Modified Service During Library Construction
Providing consistent library service to patrons continues to be a priority for the King County Library System (KCLS), but modifications to library service are unavoidable during some library improvement and expansion projects. Each project will be evaluated individually, but we must balance convenience with safety and cost concerns. KCLS will explore temporary services for each library or relocate popular programs to nearby facilities when feasible, but many services must be put on hold until modifications are completed. Construction projects will be staggered during the next decade, and patrons will be encouraged to use other nearby libraries.
Ensuring Patron and Staff Safety
Some renovations may not cause a service disruption, but patron and staff safety, project efficiency and cost management are the primary considerations driving necessary closures. Even with a required wall to separate any construction work from the public and library staff, potential safety hazards may surface from operating heavy machinery, increased traffic to the site, the need for hearing protection, and other risks associated with infrastructure and utility work. Closing the facility during construction helps keep the project on schedule and is significantly more cost-effective (there is at least a 25% premium to stage construction while the library is open).
Temporary Facilities May Not be Feasible
While KCLS originally hoped to offer temporary services nearby, staff is assessing the practicality for each project. Leasing nearby retail space may be an option in some instances, but associated costs with relocating to leased space can exceed $100,000, and suitable space may not be available. A far more cost-effective choice is to encourage patrons to temporarily switch to the next nearest KCLS library while their customary site is closed.
Utilizing Other Library Locations
Some library programs may be temporarily relocated to other community buildings, such as schools or fire stations, though this varies by community and time of year. Staff explored the option of reassigning existing mobile library services, such as ABC Express, but that would disrupt the current services in high-need communities.
Patrons are encouraged to visit any KCLS library for full service while their regular site is under renovation. Patrons will be advised of planned closures well in advance, so they can plan their shift to other nearby community libraries before construction begins.