The St. Joe County Public Library will open the doors to the newly renovated Main Library and new Community Learning Center on November 14 (Sunday). The entire community is invited to the Grand Opening celebration.
For over 15 years, Library leadership strategically planned for a renovated and expanded Main Library that would serve as a connective hub, a destination and a gathering place to reinvigorate the community. Their vision is now a reality.
“We are incredibly grateful to our partners: the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County and the City of South Bend,” Debra Futa, executive director of the St. Joe County Public Library said. “Because of their generous support, we’ve been able to renovate the Main Library to create spaces that align with our community’s needs, and construct a new Community Learning Center that will bring local residents and visitors together for generations to come.”
All three upper floors of the 85,000 square foot Main Library were completely renovated, and a new, three-story, 38,000 square foot Community Learning Center was constructed. Both facilities make up Library Square and will seamlessly connect individuals throughout the community with resources, meeting room space, and opportunities to explore what they are interested in learning.
For the first time, the Children’s Space will be on the first floor of the Library with a large Story House and replica bookmobile, and teenagers will have their own space to connect with each other, join discussions and compete in video gaming tournaments. Individuals and small groups will have access to reserve one of twelve study rooms of various sizes that will be available for tutoring, learning and collaborating. People can relax in the Commons meeting room and enjoy some quiet in the Reading Room.
The updated Local & Family History space will provide a vast array of research capabilities, including some local history resources that are only available at the Library. With convenient access and evening hours, Studio 304 will give local artists of all types guided access to the latest technology for creating, editing, and converting digital media projects.
Located on the corner of S. Michigan and W. Wayne Streets, the Community Learning Center includes a 250-seat auditorium that will host performances, lectures, community discussions and other events, while the ballroom will be uniquely suited to host career fairs, exhibits and other special events for the community. The Community Learning Center also offers 6 additional meeting room spaces that can be reserved by individuals and organizations.
“With larger, more flexible and accessible spaces for individual work, community meetings and training events, the Main Library is bringing the people of our community together as a true community center and collaborative hub,” said Jennifer Henecke, chief engagement officer of the St. Joe County Public Library.
Details of the Grand Opening celebration will be available on the Library’s website.