Fort Bend County Libraries’ (FBCL) George Memorial Library is slated to begin a new chapter in its story when renovations on the 27-year-old building begin on May 1. The facility, located at 1001 Golfview in Richmond, is the main library in the Fort Bend County library system.
The renovations at George Memorial Library are the final library phase of a $130-million bond referendum approved by voters in May 2006, which included $24.5 million for three county library projects: the construction of the University Branch Library in Sugar Land and the Sienna Branch Library in Missouri City, and renovations at George Memorial Library in Richmond.
“As buildings age, they require a certain amount of maintenance and upkeep to keep them operating as efficiently as possible,” says Clara Russell, County Librarian. “The area served by George Memorial Library has also grown and changed considerably since the library was originally built. To better serve the growing population and its changing needs, we feel we have an obligation to ensure that George Memorial Library will continue to be here to serve the people of Fort Bend County for many, many more years to come.”
The renovation process will begin on the upper north level of the library, which currently includes the audiovisual collection, study and meeting rooms, the Computer Lab, and the biography collection. During this phase, ceilings will be replaced in all of the listed areas, and some of the walls will be re-configured to improve access.
George Memorial’s audiovisual collection will not be available from May 1 until further notice, but AV items may be reserved from other branches and picked up and returned at George Memorial. The Computer Lab will close on May 2, and will remain closed for several weeks. Public computers will still be available for adults in the Adult Services area on the first floor, and for children in the Youth Services area.
Study rooms and meeting rooms on the second floor will not be available after May 1, and will remain closed until further notice. Anyone needing meeting space is encouraged to reserve a room at one of FBCL’s other libraries in the area, including the University Branch Library in Sugar Land, the Bob Lutts Fulshear/Simonton Branch Library in Fulshear, and the Cinco Ranch Branch Library in Katy.
The biography collection will be moved from the second floor to the Adult Services area on the first floor by May 1. The staff parking lot on the north side of the building will be closed May 1, in preparation for the start of construction of a library maintenance building. The Bohachevsky Gallery on the lower level of the library will also be closed indefinitely.
George Memorial Library opened in 1986, when the main library moved from its original location by Polly Ryon Hospital in Richmond. Original construction of the 77,000-square-foot building was funded by The George Foundation. The last renovation and expansions were completed in 2002 – more than 10 years ago.
“We have some exciting changes coming,” says Russell. “We want to make the disruption to services and materials as minimal as possible, and we hope our patrons will bear with us during our ‘growing pains.’ When the renovations are complete, we’ll have additional public space and more amenities that can be enjoyed by everyone.”
The public can stay abreast of ongoing changes during construction with updates on the libraries’ website, www.fortbend.lib.tx.us.