Ennis Public Library to get a makeover

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Ennis Public Library will soon undergo a 1-year renovation that will bring several improvements to the public facility.

Approved by the city commission and now going out to bid, the renovation project will improve the teens and adults section of the library, reconfigure the children’s area and add much-needed workspace for the library staff, says Jessica Diaz, director of Ennis Public Library.

Currently confined by the plumbing and electrical configurations of the original building design and its past additions, the children’s area redesign will bring open space and a whimsical, outdoor atmosphere with plenty of window space to the section, Jessica says.

Artist rendering of new children's area at Ennis Public Library
An artist rendering of the Ennis Public Library children’s area shows how the space will be made wide open by the makeover.

“Our big ticket item that I think people will be blown away with is our children’s area,” Jessica says. “It’s going to have a wall — pretty much windows that look out into a new what we’re calling our discovery courtyard. So, that would be the east side of our building. We are going to have a walled area that’s only accessible from inside the library. And it’s going to have that space that kids can run around and burn off the energy or take some books outside and read if the weather’s nice.”

A new room for special programs will also be added to the children’s area, which will allow for classes and other focused activities to be offered by the library, such as a Lego-building workshop, she says.

In the adult and teen section of the library, advanced shelf design will present the library’s collection more efficiently. Modern furniture and fixtures will update the look and offer mobile charging stations and convenient internet connectivity. Additionally, a partition will be installed in the learning center that will the 100-person capacity room to present concurrent classes, workshops, and exhibits, thereby expanding the events that the library may host.

Artist rendering of Ennis Public Library adults and teens section, with books and people walking
Ennis Public Library’s adult and teen section will be updated with modern shelving, furniture and fixtures.

Staff space will be reconfigured, creating dedicated break, staging and storage areas.

The library, which currently sees more than 40,000 visits every year, was last renovated in 1994 in a project that gave it its distinct archway entrance and rounded exterior. The new renovation project will finish out the intent of the rounded exterior by capping it with a dome and signage. A covered entryway will also be added to the front door.

artist rendering of Ennis Public Library front entrance
Ennis Public Library’s renovation project will make the exterior stand out on Ennis Avenue.

No start date for the project has been set yet. Construction will take about one year to complete and is anticipated to begin in late-2022 and end by the beginning of 2024, during which time the library will operate out of the former municipal building at 115 West Brown Street. All the library’s services will be available at the interim location, and “we’ll be able to bring over our whole book collection, so we aren’t going to have to store anything off site — we’re very pleased about that,” Jessica says.

Jessica says that already, many in Ennis have asked if the library’s stained glass window at the entry will stay. It will.

“The window has been a fixture since the ’80s. It’s just beautiful, and I feel like it kind of sets the tone for what we want our library to be — just a really nice, calming place that feels a little bit like you’re outside with the windows and light coming in,” she says.


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