Main Library Closing for Renovation

November 7, 2019 | By: Communications Staff

SJCPL Main Library Closing Temporarily for Renovation and Expansion Project 

It is business as usual at the Main Library in downtown South Bend, at least for the next few weeks. The Main Library will be closed beginning November 1 in preparation for renovation and expansion of the Library Block. The project will take 18-24 months to complete, and the Main Library is anticipated to reopen in Summer 2021. The community can continue to access Library services at any of SJCPL’s 10 Library Branches, including the new temporary Keller Park Branch opening December 2, 2019.

The St. Joseph County Public Library is embarking on the largest construction project it has undertaken in 60 years. The Main Library, originally opened in 1960 and last expanded in 1992, will undergo a complete renovation. A new Community Learning Center will be constructed along Michigan Street, and a courtyard and greenspace will replace the existing staff parking lot. These projects are poised to revitalize the entire Library Block and will take place alongside other growth and development in the downtown area. 

To accomplish this transformational project, SJCPL will move out of its current Main Library location and open the temporary Keller Park Branch in the former Brown School. The Keller Park Library Branch will open on Monday, December 2. The Branch will be open Monday-Saturday, 9:00am-5:00pm. Keller Park will have a Library collection, Studio 304 equipment, and Local and Family History resources. 

There are nine other Library Branches throughout the area, and extended hours will be available at select branches. Centre and German are open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays beginning September 8. In November, Centre Township and Francis will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday. 

The Main Library is saying goodbye (for now) to the Main Library with celebration events, including:

  • Time Capsule station in Youth Services – reflect on the past and make predictions for the future
  • Make Your Mark in the smARTbox – write your memories of the Library on the wall
  • Adopt Library Plants on Saturday, October 26, 10 a.m. – bring home a plant from our garden
  • Last Day at Main on Thursday, October 31 – visit on the last day and receive a special memento

Main Library Block Project Details:

  • The Main Library Block Project encompasses an entire city block and includes the renovation of approximately 85,000 square feet in the upper three floors of the existing Main Library building. 
  • The project includes the construction of a new three-story, 38,000 square feet Community Learning Center along Michigan Street. 
  • The project is a collaboration of firms and companies, both local and of international renown. The Library has partnered with Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Inc. (RAMSA) from New York, NY, to serve as lead designer of the project. Arkos Design, Inc. of Mishawaka, IN, is engaged as subconsultant to RAMSA and is the Architect of Record, leading the completion of the design and construction documents. Circle Design of Indianapolis, IN, is providing Civil and MEP design services, while Fink, Roberts and Petrie, Inc. of Indianapolis is providing structural design services. Bulley & Andrews LLC of Chicago, IL, is working as the construction manager.

What the public can expect from the future Main Library and Community Learning Center:

  • Dedicated teen area that includes self-directed creative activities and technology support
  • Quiet spaces and more study rooms for reading,research, classwork, and group tasks
  • Updated Local and Family History space to protect unique local resources and promote study and research
  • Courtyard and greenspace for community programs and private events
  • Larger, more flexible, and more accessible spaces for community meetings, business trainings, events, conferences, and collaborative work
  • Expanded 250 seat auditorium to meet increasing demand for public program space and allow for a more diverse range of community and Library events
  • New public computer and digital lab space
  • Larger children’s area with age appropriate zones and parent and caregiver resource space

Information about the move and renovation is available online at For frequently asked questions, click here.

News Media Contact: Jennifer Henecke, Communications Specialist, 574-235-4190

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