Downey Library closes Saturday but most programs will continue

Photo by Alex Dominguez

Photo by Alex Dominguez

DOWNEY – The Downey City Library will close Saturday as part of an extensive renovation that will take 15 months to complete.

When the library re-opens June 2020, it will be as a “true 21st Century public learning environment, furthering its mission to ignite a community of creative and critical thinkers,’” city officials said.

Construction is slated to begin in June. Plans call for a reconfiguration of interior spaces, new interior finishes, new book and data storage furniture, installation of energy efficient lighting, completion of ADA improvements, new doors and signage, and new exterior paint.

Built in 1959, the library’s last major renovation was in 1979-80, said library director Ben Dickow.

Funding for the renovation is coming from Measure S, a half-cent sales tax increase approved by Downey voters in 2016.

On Saturday, residents are invited to the library to celebrate the looming renovations. Activities will include crafts, indoor miniature golf, a puppet show, a bounce house, food trucks, and more family-friendly fun.

“We’ll be doing things you normally wouldn’t do inside a library,” said Dickow.

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Libraries from neighboring cities will be at the library Saturday to help residents sign up for memberships.

Saturday is also the last day to turn in library materials before facing fines.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the Downey City Library, which operates the used book store inside the library, is asking residents to hold onto their book donations until next year.

“We will be in need of donations to stock our new Friends of the Downey City Library store,” said Toni Stewart. “We will be located at the entrance of the remodeled library.”

Downey Library cardholders will still have access to the library’s online database of e-books.

Most library programs will continue at off-site locations during the renovation:

  • Pre-school storytime will be held Tuesdays from 10:30-11:30 a.m. inside the council chambers at City Hall;

  • Bi-lingual storytime is Wednesdays from 10:30-11:30 a.m. inside council chambers at City Hall;

  • Baby and toddler storytime will be held Saturdays at 9:15 a.m. inside the nursery at First Baptist Church;

  • Literacy program tutoring is every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church;

  • Literacy book discussions are Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church;

  • and the adult communication class will meet Mondays at 11 a.m. at the Downey Woman’s Club;

The library’s summer reading program also will continue this year.

  • A summer reading kick-off celebration is scheduled for Monday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Columbia Memorial Space Center.

  • Summer reading shows are scheduled for June 10 and 17, and July 8, 15 and 22, from 4-5 p.m. at the Downey Theatre.

  • Reading events will also be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 4 through Aug. 22, from 12-1 p.m. at Furman Park.

  • The teen mobile VR unit will be stationed at Furman Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 4 through Aug. 22, from 12-1 p.m.

  • A summer reading camp will be held Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30 p.m., June 12 through July 31, at the space center.

The library also has other scheduled events:

  • A volunteer recognition luncheon is set for Saturday, April 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Rio Hondo Event Center;

  • National Library Week will be celebrated April 8 at the space center, with a children’s event from 4-5 p.m. and an author visit from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

For questions about library programs or the closure, visit downeylibrary.org or call (562) 904-7360.

NewsEric Pierce