GRANITE CITY — In a few weeks, residents won't have to go to Niedringhaus School to find library books anymore.
In October, the staff of the Six Mile Regional Library District moved all 90,000 items from its main branch at 2001 Delmar Ave. into the former Niedringhaus Elementary School while the main branch underwent a $4.1 million renovation.
"It's been a challenge, but it's worked," said library Director Tina Hubert.
The 1925 library building was "completely gutted" and renovated, with a new heating and air conditioning system, plumbing, electrical system and a lot of renovation. There is now a sloped walk into the lower level for handicapped access to an elevator that opens up all three floors of the building. The youth library has a new teen area and a family restroom, and there are new restrooms and facilities throughout the building.
The gas fireplaces have been repaired, and a research desk, local history section and quiet study room will be available.
The dropped ceiling has been removed, restoring the ceilings of the original building, Hubert said. "We wanted to maintain the historic integrity," she said.
A few things had to go away: the 20th Street entrance is now an emergency exit only, and all items will be checked out via the main desk on the middle floor, Hubert said. But overall, residents will see a whole new library in their historic building -- once everything gets moved back.
The temporary facility at Niedringhaus School is now permanently closed, as all 90,000 items are being moved back to the Delmar library.
The main branch will reopen at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 4, Hubert said, with a grand reopening celebration planned for Saturday, Aug. 16.
In the interim, the library branch at 2145 Johnson Road will stay open during its regular hours throughout the move, Hubert said.
Hubert has been working on this project since 2012, and looks forward to returning to the new-old building.
"I can hardly wait," she said. "I'm very excited."
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at email@example.com or 618-239-2507.