The Flint Public Library recently launched a $27.6 million project to completely renovate the library. Proposed to begin in 2020, this vital renovation will create more educational opportunities and community spaces.
While donors are prepared to provide more than half of the funding, the library will seek an additional $12.6 million through a bond proposal on the November 5 City of Flint ballot.
“Many people don’t know this, but the Flint Public Library is the only building on the Cultural Center Campus that is completely owned by the people of Flint,” says Kay Schwartz, library director. “Our building and its systems are 60 years old. Major renovations are needed to keep it working. Our board has adopted a renovation plan that is more cost-effective than a new building, and now we are ready to share that plan with the public. We are very excited about what this means for the people of Flint.”
Upon approval of the bond initiative, the entire interior of the library will be renovated including significant changes doubling the children’s learning space and digital learning space. Other highlights include 66 percent more space for local history and genealogy, 15 meeting rooms, and four classrooms along with an additional 16,000 sq. ft. of space available to the public with more accessibility for people with limited mobility.
“The Flint Public Library is a community center with learning and information at its core,” says Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which has made an initial grant of $1.2 million to support the renovation effort. “This project would create the kind of space and technology the community needs to meet modern-day demands.”
Once funding is secured, the project will begin in earnest. “We will be open during construction at a location that has yet to be determined,” says Schwartz. “We will be closed for approximately two months in early 2020 to pack up and move. Similarly, we will close for roughly the same amount of time to move back into the renovated facility in the early summer of 2021. We will post information about our closings and temporary location as far in advance as possible. Even when our physical location is closed, the library’s website will still offer downloads and a portal to other services.”
For more information about the project, see www.YourNewFPL.org