Downtown Durham main library closed for renovations

This blueprint gives a preview of what the outside of the Durham Main Library will look like after the renovations in 2019. (Staff photo by Diamond Gwynn)


On January 15th, the Durham County’s Main Library on Roxboro St. temporarily closed for renovations.

With construction projects visible all over downtown and the city’s growing reputation as a modern, tourist hot spot, it seems fitting that the main branch of the public library takes a new turn.

The library will undergo a complete transformation, according to the Director of the Durham County Library, Tammy Baggett.

Baggett, who has been the director for about eight years, said that the renovations will be great for everyone.

She explained that upon entering the library customers will be able to get more than what they came for.

“You’ll be able to enter our doors and have a different experience each time,” said Baggett.

“The only thing that’ll remain is the foundation and the structural beams, and we will have expanded space for programming, additional meeting rooms, a maker lab, expanded North Carolina collection, and we’re still going to make sure we have the “traditional book,” said Baggett.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Baggett. The staff and community have been trying to get the renovations going for about a decade.

The administrative staff has temporarily been relocated to the Old Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau on the corner of Morgan St. and Mangum St.

Other staff members will relocate to different locations like the Stanford L. Warren Branch Library on Fayetteville St. and some will move to the temporary location in Northgate Mall in March 2017.

The Northgate location will not be a full operational library but will carry the N.C. Collection and a maker lab, consisting of things science and technology related.

The library will be opening back at its original location in 2019.

The new look will be modernized with glass windows so that people will see the updates while walking or driving through the city.

While the renovations are exciting for many, having the main branch closed for two years will be inconvenient to some.

Sevilay Bingol, moved to the area from Turkey for an internship early last year, and she’s having a hard time adjusting to the changes.

“I’d go there for books to help me with [my] English. I don’t have the transportation to go to the other locations,” said Bingol.

According to the Public Relations Officer, Stephanie Bonestell, it was something that had to be done in order for the library to progress and move further.

“We don’t have the technology infrastructure, even beyond not having the space to move further. Technology is the future and if we can’t expand technology, it kind of leaves us stagnant,” said Bonestell.

Beginning on March 3, the hours will be expanding system wide. On Fridays the libraries will be open from 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday hours will be added at the Stanford L. Warren Branch.

The staff would like to thank the community for their continuous support and patience.

The library will be having a book sale to show their appreciation to the community the second weekend in February. The hours on Saturday, February 11, will be from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday February 12.