FRIENDSWOOD — Each weekday outside the Friendswood Public Library there’s a line. Sometimes parents will wait with their children for up to 20 minutes before the library opens to make sure they get a good seat for Children’s Story Hour.
The meeting room where the story sessions are held is packed. Library staff often have to drag over more chairs as the crowd spills into the hallway.
But in the not-too-distant future, there should be more room for story time and other library activities when a $2 million expansion of the library is finished.
The money comes from a bond issue approved by voters in November. The referendum was finally given the green light after repeated attempts, dating back to 2001, failed at the ballot box.
Plans call for a 6,000-square-foot expansion of the library, which is now 16,000-square-feet. It also means renovation of the outdated facility.
“I’m looking forward to getting started,” said library Director Mary Perroni. “We want something that the community will be proud of and excited about.”
The expansion and renovation will include additional study and meeting rooms with white boards and projectors, a computer lab, an updated children’s section, new bathrooms, a snack bar and a refurbished local history room.
There will be a new courtyard entrance and an outdoor space. The parking lot, which often is overcrowded during popular events, will be expanded.
Construction is slated to begin in October and is estimated to take about a year. So not to disrupt operations, plans are in the works for how the library will be able to provide its many services while major sections are walled off for construction.
The challenge will be to turn the limited space into a functioning library, Riley said.
Events such as Classic Movie Night and the children programs will continue, albeit with less frequency throughout the year.
The renovation plans are well timed — the library marks its 50th anniversary in August.
“It’s been so important to the city’s growth that we have a library.” Friendswood Financial Director Cindy Edge said.
She moved to the city even before Friendswood even had a library. Back then the city was served by a bookmobile.