By Shawn Wittrock, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- A new chapter begins Tuesday for the Tulsa City-County Library, when they open The Librarium at 11th and Denver.
The former grocery-store-turned-temporary-library will fill a two-year gap, while downtown Tulsa's Central Library undergoes a major renovation--one CEO Gary Shaffer says is long overdue.
"This library, in 1965, was the library of the future. And now, in a sense, 50 years later, we are shuttering it and recreating that same vision for the 21st Century," Shaffer said.
The Tulsa City-County Library turned a page in its own history books Friday, when it closed Central Library. Now, they're writing a new chapter for the library system's most visited branch, which has not been remodeled since it opened.
"It's time to come in and update it and make it a great gathering place for all of Tulsa," Shaffer said.
The new Central Library will no longer be just a book "warehouse." Of course there will still be plenty of books, but the project includes more computer access, more open interior space, and more meeting rooms.
"People are really looking for a more modern library. They're looking for a place to convene, collaborate, and create. That's what the modern day library is all about," Shaffer said.
Plans also call for one main, single entrance facing a redesigned 5th Street, which Shaffer says will give the library a great front door.
The project is estimated to cost $48 million. The library could get $10 million from the "Improve Our Tulsa" sales tax package, which goes to voters this November.
While saying goodbye to the past is necessary, it's tough on some long-time employees, some of whom have worked there more than two decades.
"A little bittersweet, but I think everyone's really excited about the transformation and all that's happening with the library," Shaffer said.
You can still request material from the central library during its two-year closing. The Librarium opens Tuesday at 10 a.m. There are also more than two dozen other libraries in Tulsa County.