On track

Soldotna library expansion moves forward

Most of us would cringe at the words “moving day.” But imagine trying to move a library of countless books organized by the Dewey Decimal System to a smaller, yet-to-be-determined, temporary facility.


Luckily, Terri Burdick and her staff at the Joyce K. Carver Soldotna Public Library are up for the task.

They’re going to need to decide which books go and which books stay while the library undergoes a makeover this summer. 

“We’re going to be moving into a much smaller space temporarily while the expansion is going on,” Burdick said. “So we’re not going be able to take our whole collection with us, we’re only going to be able to spotlight the stuff that’s very popular.” 

The rest of the books, she said, will be kept in the basement of the current facility. 

Burdick said she has a system to decide what goes and stays, she’s going to assign the staff to areas of the library they are most familiar with and compile a list of the books that are frequently checked out.

The hard work will pay off, as the library expansion will add about 9,800 square feet to the first floor.

“It’s definitely going to be a burden on the library and the patrons,” Soldotna City Engineer Kyle Kornelis said. “But financially and for a better product, it’s in the best interest for us to relocate (the library) temporarily. It’s not the best scenario for library users, but it’s certainly going to be the best for the project and the library in the long run.”

Even with the limited space in the temporary facility, Burdick said the library staff will still be able to serve the patrons if they’re requesting a book that’s in the basement, but it might take an extra day.

“Probably once a week staff will come and retrieve those (books) and take them to the relocation,” she said. 

Once construction is completed, the new space will allow the library to serve the community in a greater capacity, Burdick said.

“Say a small group wants to come in and meet at the library, now there will be more areas in the library for all-sized groups,” she said. “(There will) be more space for more programs, more events, making it more of a community-happening place.”

Burdick said she has been asked if more space means more books, and the answer is yes, but probably not right away.

“It will in the long run,” she said. “There will be more books, but you probably aren’t going to see them right away when the doors open.”

Kornelis said the city is looking at different options for the library’s temporary home.

“We’re looking at the Peninsula Center Mall, looking at the Soldotna Sports Center conference rooms and various other locations within the community,” he said. 

The bid documents for the expansion construction are available for review starting Tuesday, Kornelis said, and ground breaking is estimated to be early June.

Burdick said she has been pleased with the expansion process.

“I am very happy,” she said. “The process has been relatively painless, you know, and time wise, I think it’s been going really well and everybody’s input has been very good.”