Beginning Friday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m., the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library will close its front doors and will not reopen them to the public until March 2019.
The reason for the temporary closure, according to library officials, is a project to replace the building’s fire suppression system.
“It’s basically the fire sprinkler pipes inside the building, as well as the fixtures and piping that goes around the porch areas outside of the library,” Branch Manager Amy Ring advised. “All of those pipes are going to be replaced, so it’s a pretty big project and a few years in the making.”
According to Ring, the extensive project is to be completed by W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc. and is estimated to cost about $187,800.
“We’ve had issues with leaks,” she explained. “They had done some work in the past to try to find less costly solutions to fix any issues with leaks and the general deterioration of the system, but those attempts have not been successful, so it was determined by (county engineers) that the best thing is to just replace the system.”
But while the library building will be closed for several months, Ring advised that a temporary storefront will be accessible at the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s Annex for most of that period.
“The week of Nov. 5, we won’t be offering library services in Ponte Vedra at all,” she said, “because for that week, library staff will be readying the building and moving equipment and everything that we’ll need for the next couple months to that Tax Collector’s Annex at 5430 Palm Valley Road. We’re going to open that to the public on Tuesday morning, Nov. 13 at 11 a.m.”
From Nov. 13 through the branch’s reopening, the temporary storefront will operate under abbreviated hours, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. During those hours, patrons will be able to request and pick up holds, drop off returns and browse the library catalogue, as well as a limited selection of items.
Recognizing that the schedule change will present a challenge to some patrons, Ring said that library staff will be making a few adjustments to better accommodate everyone.
“Everything will either check out for three weeks, two weeks or one week, so that people have a chance to get to us while we’re open,” she said.
Additionally, Ring noted that the time limit on holds will be extended from four to seven days, to give patrons more time to pick up their items, and added that the closure will not impact the building’s use as an early voting site or Election Day polling place.
“The building will still be available for early voting the whole day on Saturday, Nov. 3, and it will be open on polling day on Nov. 6,” she said. “It’s just that people will need to enter the library through the southeast, double green doors.”
Throughout the upcoming closure, patrons will still be able to contact library staff at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch’s main phone number of (904) 827-6950. While the exact completion date for the project is uncertain, Ring said she is hopeful that the library will be reopened by March 1 and encouraged patrons to visit www.sjcpls.org/closure/ to stay informed of any updates.