The gorgeous Central Library turns 100 this year and will celebrate with a grand re-opening. Restoration has been underway for more than a year now. Historic features of the library are being enhanced while modernization will give patrons much more space.
Here are some interesting tidbits about the project, given to me by my friends at the St. Louis Public Library:
• The massive front steps of Central Library, so familiar to generations of St. Louisans, are made of solid granite. The stairs are comprised of 565 individual pieces, each of which is approximately 5 feet long. Each piece had to be carefully labeled, removed, cataloged, and stored so that the entire jigsaw puzzle can be put back together.
• 4,800 square glass tiles (each weighing about 40 pounds) made up the famous floors in the old Stacks area. Just because they were clear does not mean they were light. The seven stories of glass floors weighed-in at a hefty 192,000 pounds (96 tons). But hold on, they are not all going away. A number of the glass tiles will be reused as room dividers in the restored and renewed Central Library.
• In order to give our patrons more of a good thing, the restoration and renewal project will open up an additional 30,000 square feet to the public. That’s a 60 percent increase over what was already being used.
• To make room for that additional space, the 7 levels of the old Stack towers— totaling more than 39,000 square feet that held close to 4 million items—had to be removed. That same collection will now be housed in 4 areas of high density compact shelving totaling 18,000 square feet.