For five months, the Bala Cynwyd Library has been closed as it got a major makeover. On Sunday, the expanded and renovated building will make its debut when its new doors open to the public.
“It’s very exciting,” said Bala Cynwyd head librarian Jean Knapp. “People are going to love it.”
The timing is perfect: A Pew Research Center study released this month found that a majority of parents of children under 18 “feel libraries are very important for their children,” beginning with the importance parents put on reading.
Bala Cynwyd is the second renovation in Lower Merion Township’s plan to improve all six of its libraries. The first completed was the Ludington branch in Bryn Mawr.
The most notable change at Bala Cynwyd is the addition of 5,700 square feet of space built on to the front of the library, along Old Lancaster Road at N. Highland Avenue.
The new front features blue, green and yellow windows that radiate those colors inside when the sun is shining. The color scheme runs through some of the furniture and elsewhere inside as well.
The expansion, said Knapp, allowed the interior to be rearranged to make the stairs and elevator more prominent and convenient.
Gathered in one place now, will be new materials, audiovisual materials, magazines and newspapers. They, and chairs, are located by a fireplace. The fireplace is where the old meets the new.
“Everybody thinks it’s new, but it’s been there since the building has been there,” Knapp said, explaining that it was obscured before by furniture.
Adult books remain on the first floor, though they now are joined by a young adult section.
The second floor still will be the kingdom of kids, though it also has been rearranged. The mural of children’s book characters that stood behind a small stage has been restored and moved to a program area so that it’s the first thing that can be seen when reaching the second floor. The stage is gone, but visitors will find a new tutoring space and a stroller-parking area on the second floor.
The Bala Cynwyd staff worked at other buildings while the library was being renovated. Soon to be refugees no more, they are looking forward to the reopening.
“The staff is pretty excited to be back at their home library,” Knapp said, “but also because it’s really very nice and we’re excited about it.”
The grand opening will run Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and feature the Lower Merion High School Jazz Band, a children’s dance group, and other activities. Until September 8, there will be limited hours. The library will be closed on Sundays.