Wood County Public Library closure extended for construction work

Photo by Jeff Baughan The lower level entrance, used for voting, will become the entrance for the library when the library reopens. The main entrance, top, will remain closed until construction is finished.

PARKERSBURG — There was a break Friday during delivery of books and office equipment from the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library to a Parkersburg warehouse.

Executive Director Brian Raitz took a few minutes to have a seat.

He was happy construction was going to begin Monday at the Emerson Avenue facility.

He wasn’t as happy when he said the library will remain closed until an undetermined time next week. The library was scheduled to remain closed through Sunday but will take longer in the preparation for renovations.

“We had hoped to be done with the moving but it’s taking longer than we thought,” Raitz said. “We’re saving money and making things move faster by storing books, furniture and materials to this warehouse. This move is a 100,000-item move. About three quarters of the library’s collection is here.

Photo by Jeff Baughan While Teresa Wilkinson, right, moves books on a cart, Janet Mongilio, center, stacks the books on a shelf and Marcia Durnell holds shelved books in place Friday.

“We’ve had a lot of help from from staff, volunteers and patrons,” Raitz said. “What we could really use is a bunch of strong people. You know any?” he said and then broke into a smile.

“Construction begins on the 14th and I hope it’s going to be finished in December but I figure it could reach into early January,” he added. “Until it is ready, we’re going to be running the library out of the basement.”

The entrance for the library will become where voters go to cast their ballots on 31st Street. North Parkersburg Baptist’s Friendship Kitchen parking lot will be used as parking for the library during construction. “We’ve got good neighbors,” said Raitz.

While the majority of the library’s resources are warehoused, Raitz said those will still be available to the public, just not at the grab-and-go pace.

“The staff will come here and pull materials as needed,” he said. He looked around the warehouse and added, “We need that dehumidifier in here now. It’s cool now but I don’t know how long this will last.”

Photo by Jeff Baughan Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library Executive Director Brian Raitz, bottom, helps Zach Claypool of Select Office Services move books into a warehouse Friday while Shane Bennett readies more items in the moving truck.

Raitz moves out of his seat as he pushes carts of books to shelving where Teresa Wilkinson, Janet Mongilio and Marcia Durnell place the books. It’s not a matter of just placing books on shelves. “We have to keep the books in order,” he said. “It makes it easier when we move back. It’s going to be so nice when we have the side entrance through the children’s library in place.”

It’s going to be the children’s library and the circulation desk area which will see the most change, according to Raitz.

“The children’s library will have an area for programming and it’s going to have its own checkout area,” he said. “No more having to gather up kids and whatever, go to the circulation desk and hope the kids don’t wander away while you get checked out.”

The first floor will have a new look from floor to ceiling while the offices behind the circulation desk will be no more. The circulation desk will stay in the same place, however. The front entrance will stay the same as well and the book drop will be accessible at all times.

Raitz said library branches will be open as usual.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Shelves and books from the children’s library are being warehoused while construction for the new entrance in the area takes place.

“Until the library reopens we ask people just hold on to their materials,” Raitz said. “There will be no overdue fees during this time.”