COLUMBIA — The Columbia Public Library will start installing new carpets throughout the building in early February.
The project is expected to be completed in April, library spokeswoman Mitzi St. John said.
The library's hours of operation will not be affected by the carpet installation, said Elinor Barrett, associate director of the library. Access to some sections of the library could be limited during phases of the project, she said, but that should not prevent library patrons from being able to check out materials.
So far, the audiobooks have been moved to the second floor to prepare for the project, and library staff has put up signs to direct readers to the new location.
"(It's) not a problem right now," St. John said. "We will do our best to make sure people can find what they need."
The current carpets, especially near walls, are wearing out and faded. Holes in the carpeting are visible near the library's entrance, and library staff has used duct tape to hold the carpet together in places.
St. John said that the carpeting was installed when the building opened in 2002 and that it has lasted as long as library staff expected.
The only areas that will not get new carpet are a single conference room and a back stairwell, St. John said.
Barrett said she expects the new carpet to last for at least 10 years, about as long as the original carpeting did.
During the installation of the carpet, the library will also make other changes and renovations, most notably by transforming the mail room on the first floor into a public space and turning the training center into a public meeting room.
Computers will be moved from the library's training center into the 683-square-foot mail room. The library will also add a lounge in the new books area near the entrance with tables, sofas and chairs. And more self-checkout stations will be installed.
"Since it's an extensive project, we think it's a good time to go ahead and make changes at the same time," St. John said.
The library has budgeted $1.46 million for the project, and PCE from Columbia will be the general contractor.