New Camano library set to open this summer

CAMANO ISLAND — The new library here is set to open by the end of the summer.

Crews have been remodeling the former Islander’s Restaurant at Terry’s Corner since March. They’ve turned the entryway and drive-up window area into a multipurpose room, the patio into an enclosed reading room, the kitchen into office space and the bar into the children’s reading room.

There still is a “No Minors Allowed” sign over the doorway to the children’s room. That will come down around the time staff start stocking the place with picture books and child-sized seats.

The Camano Library is Sno-Isle Libraries’ first new facility since 2010, when the Coupeville Library was finished. Camano Island voters approved a $2.3 million bond in April 2014 to establish a permanent library on the island. A temporary library has been in place since 2007, just a couple doors down from the new one. It gets about 5,000 visitors and checks out about 10,500 items each month, Sno-Isle spokesman Ken Harvey said.

The temporary library is about 1,800 square feet, and the new space is nearly triple that at 4,900 square feet.

“The layout is going to be much more effective in terms of giving us dedicated space for children, teens and adults,” Harvey said. “This is going to be a community and activity space that people really haven’t had out here.”

The smaller library holds about 6,000 items. The new space will have 18,000. Staff plan on arranging themed displays, like a gardening shelf with nonfiction books on tips and tricks, fictional thrillers or romances with a garden theme, and home and garden magazines.

“The pilot library had to be set up in a small space, very efficiently, with a lot of focus on popular materials and coming in to pick up holds,” Sno-Isle Facilities Director Jeanne Crisp said. “This is a more traditional level of service with an expanded collection and that topical approach.”

Librarians also will be able to add more children’s programs in the new space and have more technology available for adults, including computers, tablets and a counter in the teen section where people can plug in their own devices.

Sno-Isle plans to add at least one full-time employee at the new library and is interviewing candidates for the position now. The library also will be open earlier in the morning and later in the evening, adding about 40 more open hours a month compared to the current schedule. The multipurpose room will be available for reservations after hours, as well. It can be cut off from the rest of the building by a sliding divider that looks like a barn door.

A committee of staff, architects and volunteers from Camano Island helped design the space.

“They wanted a quiet reading area and they like the idea of taking advantage of the view and the light, really opening up and brightening up the space,” Crisp said.

The interior colors will be natural tones to reflect the beauty of the island, she said. Shades of brown and blue, with names like Eureka and True North, are meant to remind people of the earth and water. The reading room has big windows and a fireplace. The library still needs carpet, trim and paint before teams come in to arrange the furniture and shelve the items.

Both Camano libraries will be closed for about a week, likely in August, to move supplies from the temporary library to the permanent one. During that time, people can pick up holds or drop off books at the Stanwood Library, about five miles away.

The Camano Library is construction superintendent Dick Jakielski’s last job before retiring from Everett-based contractor Kirtley Cole. An avid library-goer, he said the work has been rewarding, though it was challenging to turn a restaurant space into a library. The design keeps the overall character of the building, with its high roof, natural light and a large stained glass window near the ceiling.

“It’s a very distinctive building with the roof and the skylight and the stained glass,” he said. “It’s a nice one to have your signature on.”

Sno-Isle is planning a grand opening celebration for the library. A date should be decided by the end of the month, Harvey said.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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