The first phase of an 18-month, $15-million renovation of the Central Library is on schedule and expected to be finished in March, according to Jay Wollenhaupt, the library’s Administrative Manager and project liaison. In the photo below, he’s assessing progress along the western exterior, which is adjacent to the new alleyway that connects Harvard St. to Colorado Blvd., and the new Paseo to Central Library.


Significant in phase one is remodeling the book stacks at the west end of the main floor, with the addition of a larger, comfortable seating area with new furniture and convenient outlets for plugging in laptops. Public safety also is prominent in phase one as new shear walls are being installed to retrofit the building for earthquake readiness.


Shortly after the renovation began, the west end was sealed off with a temporary barrier while the stacks were removed and the floor cleared for construction. By the end of March, it’s expected this portion of the building will be reopened, and patrons will begin to experience the benefits of this landmark project.

Also due for completion this spring is a new Friends area on the lower floor, where books and other materials will be available for sale as the current Book Nook is replaced.

Where is the big clock?

Meanwhile, what happened to the clock? It’s one of the most asked questions heard around the library. No worries. The large contemporary clock formerly above the reference desk area will return and placed near the elevator shaft connecting the basement to the second floor, about where it was located before.

Among improvements in the next phases are second floor seating for reading on the second floor overlooking Central Park, a new staircase connecting the main and second floors, auditorium upgrades, and a room devoted to Man’s Inhumanity to Man, which will be a rotating gallery for art and other displays.

Work is continuing on the north side of the library along Harvard Street, which is being prepared as one of two new entrances. The other entrance is on the south side of the building connecting to the recently-dedicated Central Park Paseo leading to and from the new Museum of Neon Art (MONA) and Brand Boulevard.


For updates and any changes in hours for the Central Library and branches, check

Central Library Renovation on Schedule