Bethlehem Area Public Library main office to offer limited service during renovations | Lehigh Valley Regional News

The Bethlehem Area Public Library’s main location will offer limited service in March and April because of renovations.

“Major disruptions to library services are expected,” according to the library’s website.

During renovations, there will be no computer access for adults at the Main Library, no access to the adult collections, and limited seating.

Studio 11, the library’s record studio, will not be open. Reserved books may still be picked up and items can be returned at the outdoor book drop.

Youth programming and other services will continue at the Main Library, and scheduled events including yoga, Qigong, library clubs, the Book Sale and Lehigh Valley BookFest will go ahead as planned.

The renovations are taking place on the first floor of the building at 11 W. Church St., just west of Bethlehem City Hall.

The BAPL’s Southside Branch at Fourth and Webster streets will remain open, as will the Coolidge Building at 2740 Fifth St. in Bethlehem Township. The bookmobile will also keep moving.

“Some ‘new’ items in our adult collections will still be available,” according to the library website, without providing further details.

After the work is done, the new-look library “will be better than ever very soon,” the BAPL site says.

Josh Berk, executive director of the Bethlehem library, said the monumental task of moving perhaps 75,000 books will start next week.

“We will take down all the books, then remove the shelves, remove the carpet, put in new shelves and put the books back,” he said, putting the big task into simple steps. The library’s total collection at all locations includes about 160,000 books and discs.

Library supporters can help pay for the new look by contributing at the library’s website. Donors can have their name placed on a shelf.

After the renovations are complete, the entry will look the same, with the circulation desk on the right and the Cohen Room for meetings on the left. The reference desk, now on the Church Street side of the building, will be more central. Behind it will be a new computer section, with some small workspaces.

Library users who work at home but need a small space for a meeting, for example, could use the new semi-private areas.

Berk said the new shelves would be lower, giving the library an open feel with better sight lines and fewer blind spots.

“We’re going to make the floor brighter and more open,” he said. Lower shelves will give the library a bookstore atmosphere.

Even during renovations, the front section of the library will remain open. Patrons can request books, CDs and DVDs. If the specific item is not in storage, it can be picked up in the main library and returned at the drop outside.

There will also be a small collection of books and discs to browse through, Berk said.