Patrons will see renovated interior when New Albany library reopens

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
Benjamin Reid, manager of the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, is pictured outside the library Jan. 19. Renovations to the interior of the library began Jan. 18 and include ceilings, lighting, flooring, windows, HVAC and furniture, as well as a new customer-service desk, a larger teen area and a larger Homework Help Center.

The New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is getting a makeover.

The $1.9 million renovation, which started Jan. 18, will include ceilings, lighting, flooring, windows, HVAC and furniture, as well as a new customer-service desk, a larger teen area and a larger Homework Help Center.

The renovation is expected to finished in March.

“On behalf of our staff, we are so excited about this reinvestment in our community,” branch manager Benjamin Reid said. “These upgrades to our branch will ensure that we can continue to meet the changing needs of New Albany customers of all ages.”

The branch’s drive-up and pick-up services will be available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays, and walk-up services will be unavailable, except at other branches, said Ben Zenitsky, a spokesman for the library system.

Physical entry into any of the 23 locations is restricted because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Zenitsky said.

As with most institutions across the state, Columbus Metropolitan Library branches shut their doors last March as the pandemic spread rapidly. In August, the library system opened most of its branches for limited services, only to close again, with the exception walk-up and pick-up services, Nov. 21.

“We’re keeping a close eye on public-health advisories and news out of the governor’s office,” Zenitsky said. “With the current stay-at-home advisory still in effect here in central Ohio, we’ve restricted in-building services at our libraries until it’s deemed safe to welcome customers back inside.

“In the meantime, our staff are working to provide curbside pick-up and walk-up services (at New Albany),” he said. “Once this renovation is finished, the New Albany branch will return to the same level of services offered at our other locations, although what that will be remains to be seen.”

The New Albany branch opened in 2003, Zenitsky said.

“Believe it or not, this branch is nearing 20 years old,” he said. “In addition to the flooring, ceiling and furniture upgrades, this refresh gives us an opportunity to replace that massive customer-service desk and reconfigure the public space in a way that is more customer-focused.”

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary