ashland.news
July 21, 2024

Ashland Public Library fully open following HVAC improvements

The Ashland Public Library is part of the Jackson County Library District. Bob Palermini photo/palermini.com
May 23, 2023

Upper level opened Monday, May 22; downstairs level opened April 24

By Holly Dillemuth, Ashland.news 

It’s no easy task operating a public library during renovations but the Ashland branch pulled it off, reopening the upper level of its building on Monday.

Library staff spent the last two months navigating the $800,000-replacement of its 20-year-old heating, ventilating and air conditioning  (HVAC) system. The capital improvement project closed the 22,655-square-foot library on March 7, with door service by staff through much of April, and no access to the downstairs level until April 24. The upper level opened Monday, welcoming patrons back to peruse the thousands of books in stock.

“It is hard to operate a library without having a completely functional building,” said Kristin Anderson, Bear Creek Area Manager and Ashland Branch Manager for Jackson County Library Services, in an email to Ashland.news. “The staff and administration of Jackson County Library Services worked hard to develop and execute a plan that ensured that the public had as much access to the library as possible at each stage of the process. The staff who had the opportunity brought back really positive stories about connections they made while out and about in the community during this time. While patrons have expressed disappointment in their inability to access their library fully, they have also expressed appreciation that we worked as hard as we did to ensure as much access as we were able.”

Patrons can also anticipate a cooler experience through the summer, as would be expected, following the upgrade.

“At the end of the day, the HVAC system did need to be replaced and the community will be better served by a library that can be kept at reliably comfortable temperatures moving forward,” she said.

Meeting and study rooms have been unavailable for reservations for the project’s duration since early March, and will continue to be closed through May 31. Reservations will open again for their use on June 1. Several Ashland Library programs have been 

hosted in alternate locations, including Windows in Time history lectures, Big Ideas conversation series programs, and storytime programs, according to the library website.  

“Every effort was made to meet as many of the public’s library needs as possible. We were able to check out and return materials and offer holds pickup for circulating materials,” Anderson told Ashland.news via email. “We also had carts with library materials available for browsing during this phase of construction and those materials were available for checkout. We could not have computers available for public use during this phase and referred patrons to our other 14 library locations throughout the county.  

During front door service, Anderson said the library kept its usual staff. 

“We needed about half our team to run the operation at the front door,” Anderson said. “The rest of the Ashland team worked on system-wide projects or collection projects during that time and were also able to offer a lot of programs out in the community: in Lithia Park, at North Mountain Nature Park, at the growers market, at the (Ashland) middle and high schools to name a few!”

The library’s summer reading programs for children and youth will kick off at noon on Wednesday, June 21.

For more information and for hours of operation, go online to jcls.libcal.com

Reach Ashland.news reporter Holly Dillemuth at hollyd@ashland.news.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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