Tuesday, January 21, 2020

An Inside Look at the Covington Branch Library

The Covington temporary library branch next to Rouses on Claiborne Hill was closed on January 15, and the renovated Covington library branch will reopen on January 27. A ribbon cutting will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 5. The Grand Re-Opening Celebration will be held on Saturday, February 8.For the past week the materials that were in the temporary branch have been relocated back to the Covington library branch. 

The 33 year-old Covington Branch underwent extensive upgrades and repairs and some of the areas were re-arranged after the parishwide administration offices were moved to a different location. The renovation of the branch included replacement of the air conditioning/heating system, roof replacement, bathrooms expanded for ADA compliance, installation of an automatic door, carpet replacement, new paint and refreshed furniture.

Here are some photographs of the new interior. Click on the images to make them larger:

The checkout desk

The Children's Program room 

This room will offer tables and learning stations ideal for a seminar or workshop presentation.

The Children's Area

The Oak Tree motif in the Children's Area

The Computer Lab 

The computer lab will offer scanners and printers.

The new automatic front door
The new front door will open and close automatically, to make it easier for not only handicapped patrons but also for people carrying stacks of books to enter and exit.  There wasn't enough room for sliding glass door panels, so the new door is "telescoping."

Re-filling the book stacks

The Genealogy/ Louisiana Room will be back in business with its 7,000 items specifically for researching family history and Louisiana history. The new head of the Genealogy Room is Leidy Cook.

Installing many audio visual monitors throughout the building

The Main Stacks 

Book shelving units are shorter now to allow for light from the ceiling fixures to reach into the aisles better. The bottom shelf is tilted upward so book titles can be more easily read by someone standing in the aisle. The new renovations take into account many new features that make the library experience much more pleasant and productive. Over the past 33 years, since the building was first constructed, a variety of new ideas have surfaced in library science that aid in serving the community library customers.

The meeting room has increased in size, from 60 seat capacity to 80 seats.

A new bust of Walker Percy is prominently displayed.It was sculpted by Don Smith and donated by the Covington Public Art Fund.

Puddles the Goose surveys his domain

The Quiet Reading Room 

This glass enclosed room will offer a space for persons reading for pleasure or researching documents from the Genealogy Room next door. 

The Teens area 

This area will offer a variety of seating arrangements for teenagers, and a collection geared to their tastes. The chairs even have notches to hold their bookbags. 

The parking lot over the past week has been filled with audio visual display installation trucks

Covington Library Renovation Fact Sheet

•    The 18,525 square foot branch, which opened on September 23, 1987, housed both the Covington Branch and library administration. Prior to the renovation, library administration moved to a new location so the 3,500 square feet they previously occupied could be included in the renovated space.

•    The renovation of the 33 year-old branch began in October of 2018 and took a little over 15 months at a cost of $1,778,294.29.

•    The architects for the renovation were Russell Burgdahl and Steven Graves of Burgdahl & Graves, AIA Architects. The contractor for the project was Steele McDaniel of Steele R. Development, LLC. Interior design consulting was provided by Denelle Wrightson and Melissa Lemaster of Dewberry.

•    Renovations included a new heating and cooling system, new lighting, new automatic doors, new windows, updated bathrooms, enlargement of the meeting room, fresh interior paint, new carpet and new furniture. In addition, the renovation features the addition of three study rooms, a quiet reading room, and an activity room.

•    The new quiet reading room provides a quiet place for contemplation or study adjacent to our Genealogy and Louisiana Room. The meeting room can hold 80 people and can be reserved by community groups. The previous meeting room served 60 people.

•    The children's area furniture enhancements including the discovery tree bench, the oak tree marking the entrance to the children's area, the tack boards, imagination cube, and flying geese were donated by the St. Tammany Library Foundation. The foundation also donated the adult shelving end panels. Their generous donations helped to make our interior renovation truly special.

•    The Covington Public Art Fund graciously donated a bronze bust of Walker Percy sculpted by Don Smith. It is located on a lighted pedestal near the front entrance.

•    As trees are so central to Covington, a Tree City USA, major design elements of the renovation include trees and the animals that call them home. There are a woodpecker, a squirrel and several geese represented in the decor. The goose is the mascot of the children's area, with "Puddles" the goose overseeing the area.

•    The branch houses 85,472 items for all ages.

•    Hours for the branch will be Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

•    Sally McKissack is the Branch Manager and Melanie Sharp is the Circulation Manager.

•    The Ribbon Cutting for the renovated branch will begin at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 5. The Grand Opening Celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 8, and will include a performance by Curtis Pierre, "The Samba Man," at 10:30 a.m., a teen printmaking workshop at 11:30 a.m., a meet-and-greet with author Erica Spindler at 11:45 a.m. and Zumba with Covington Mayor Mark Johnson at 1 p.m.

 From left to right, Branch Manager Sally McKissack, Library Director Kelly LaRocca, Public Relations Coordinator Shellie Lister, and Assistant Director of Support Services Tanya DiMaggio. 

 Sally McKissack, Covington Branch Manager

The Children's Program Room

Children's area activities help develop variety of skills

The curved bookcases are on rollers which allow them to be moved around and placed end to end to form semi-circular half walls to better contain special activities.  

This unit could keep someone busy for hours.

This guy is one of my favorite decorative items.

There is a cushioned "reading nook" in the children's area.

Reference Librarian

Computers wired up and ready to go

  • Since the library system administration offices have moved out of this building and relocated down 21st Avenue to a rented structure, the sign out front has been removed. It used to read both the Covington Library Branch and Administrative Headquarters, but will now read just the Covington Library Branch. The separate administration building is two story and offers three thousand square feet of space.
  • Several new floor coverings have been installed.
  • Three individual "study" rooms allow individuals to read and research by themselves.
  • All the computers along the wall have scanners attached to them. 
  • The library will offer a fax service as well. 
  • The wifi covers the building and the parking lot, but turns itself off in the evening.

Behind the library building are several grassy areas, large oak trees and a gazebo. This location has been used in the past for music concerts, movie showings, story walks for children, reading books in the garden, story time, Easter Eggs hunts, etc. When the library returns, more events are expected outdoors.

Sally McKissack, Covington Branch Manager; Walker Percy; and Library Director Kelly LaRocca.