Port Orchard: Help with library construction; go hog wild with check-outs

Like gluttons at an all-you-can-eat buffet, book lovers are helping the Port Orchard Library clear its shelves before construction begins Aug. 31 on a major renovation.

The library will be closed until Oct. 21, as contractors install new carpet, make major repairs and upgrades, and construct a new layout designed for patrons’ increased comfort and convenience.

Since early August, librarians have been pushing a “Checkout to Help Out” initiative, encouraging people to take up to 75 titles, preferably nonfiction. The books won’t be due until Nov. 2, so you’ll have more time to enjoy your stockpile. Now there’s an invitation to procrastinate.

The actual limit is 100, but the library suggests 75, so patrons have leeway to check out other titles from the library’s system.

Patrons are encouraged to choose nonfiction and mystery books, because those are the sections that will be most heavily impacted by the construction.
According to librarian Susan Lee, the books are practically flying off the shelves. One man recently checked out 95. Someone traveling to Ireland swept clean the section on that country. Crafting books are disappearing; biographies are starting to thin out. “New arrivals,” the library’s equivalent of the impulse aisle by the grocery checkout counter, are picked nearly clean.

“You can see we have a big gap,” said Lee, pointing, here and there and over yonder.

Lee says this is a great opportunity for teachers to sweep up a temporary collection, as one teacher did with mythology books.

So, here are a few things to know.
* The last day of the free-for-all is Aug. 30.
* From now until the end of construction, you can’t pick up holds at the Port Orchard Library. You can get them at Manchester (or any other branch in the Kitsap Regional Library system).
* You are encouraged to hang onto all the Port Orchard books until the Nov. 2 due date. If you do need to return them, use the Sylvan Way branch in East Bremerton.
* No, the Port Orchard librarians won’t be sipping Mai Tais on some foreign beach during the project. They will be working at other library locations throughout the system, and then putting the library back together before the reopening.
* The cost of the project, $100,000, is covered by roughly $70,000 from Kitsap Regional Library’s capital budget. The Kitsap Regional Library Foundation will provide up to $10,000, and the Port Orchard Friends of the Library will donate roughly $30,000. The group has received significant donations from South Kitsap Rotary, Kitsap Bank, The Fred Meyer Foundation, The Phil Grey Foundation, Rotary District 5020 and numerous patrons who have donated for the renovation.

Happy reading.

Chris Henry, reporter

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