St. Joseph County Public Library opens temporary branch in old Brown Intermediate building
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—The St. Joseph County Public Library has opened the temporary Keller Park branch in the old Brown Intermediate building.
In what used to be the school’s own library, the SJCPL’s collection now sits on a mix of book shelves from both the old school and main library.
“You just don’t even notice what’s there until you have to think about what you need at the new place and make sure it comes with you,” said Kris Springer, the customer service manager and Keller Park branch manager.
SJCPL’s Main Library in downtown South Bend closed at the end of October for a renovation and expansion project that is expected to take between 1 1/2 and 2 years. In the meantime, the Keller Park branch will serve as a temporary home for the library's staff and collections.
"It was just like moving a house but 50 times bigger," Springer said.
The Keller Park branch, located at 737 Beale Street, officially opened to the public on December 2. Springer said the grand opening drew about 170 people in, from all over the county.
“People are always a little anxious and challenged when they’re making such a big move from a place that’s a beloved workplace or just a place they love to be in general, to a new place. There was anxiety but it went much more smoothly than we had anticipated,” Springer said.
The library utilized a specialty moving service to transport the some 300,000 items from the old main library to the new temporary branch.
“We still have our entire main collection, especially the adult fiction, the adult nonfiction, that is all accessible. That is in closed storage but the staff can run and get things. We have gotten a lot of steps in running back to our closed storage,” Springer said.
The temporary branch features local and family history services, Studio 304, public computers with internet and wireless laptops for in-library use as well as a library collection. It is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ipads are available for children to use and printers and fax machines are in operation at Keller Park.
“Everyone who comes here is going to be really amazed and happy and feel at home. It’s a very cozy space,” Springer said.
Ground is set to break on the Main Library renovation project in the spring of 2020.