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Portland Public Library prepares for return to renovated main branch

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Portland Public Library prepares for return to renovated main branch

PORTLAND — Renovations at the Portland Public Library's main branch are nearing completion, and displaced services will begin moving back into the building on Monument Square later this winter.

The library plans to move Children's Services in February from its temporary home at the East End Community School on Munjoy Hill back into the renovated first floor of the Congress Street building.

Heather Tiffany, the director of development for the library, said the move will coincide with the school's February break. That means the Munjoy Hill branch will be closed Feb. 13 through Feb. 22. The branch will reopen Feb. 23 with its regular collection and resources.

Children's Services will be unavailable for about five weeks while library staff prepare the new Sam L. Cohen Children's Library, Tiffany said. The Cohen foundation was a lead contributor to the $7.3 million renovation project and chose to have the children's section bear the name of its late benefactor.

According to Tiffany, the library will get the renovated space back from contractors in March, and plans to reopen the space April 6.

The renovation project, which began in April, includes interior and exterior improvements. During renovations, the library consolidated readily available offerings to the rear, lower level of the building. Displaced materials were stored in donated warehouse space.

When it reopens, the library will have a new glass facade facing Monument Square and extending to the sidewalk. A new entrance will lead to a cafe and computer area.

The first floor will have a teen section, the children's section, new periodicals and public restrooms. An open staircase in the front of the first floor will lead to Rines Auditorium, conference rooms and practice space for musicians.

The second floor will include reading space and non-fiction offerings.

Tiffany said the renovation project has gone well, and the library is anticipating giving tours of the new space in the coming months.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net