With the Hillsboro Public Library’s Shute Park branch soon to go under the “surgeon’s knife” for major remodeling, the city is literally rolling out a new way to serve library patrons during the 10 months the facility is expected to be closed.

The 15,000 square foot Shute Park library, at 775 S.E. 10th Ave. in Hillsboro, is aging, inefficient and in need of an upgrade, officials say. Because the project will be so extensive, the facility will be completely closed during construction, so the library is bringing in a bookmobile to partly alleviate the impact of the library’s upcoming HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - This colorful bookmobile will be on loan from the Salem Public Library while the Shute Park library is under construction.

“It doesn’t really replace it all, but it keeps something there,” said Mike Smith, the city’s library director. “We’ll have bestsellers and high turnover items, Spanish books and CDs and DVDs. The idea is to have something there people want to check out. The bookmobile only holds about 1,300 items.”

The bookmobile will be parked at the Senior Center adjacent to Shute Park. On some Saturdays, Smith said, the bookmobile may be stationed near the Hillsboro Saturday Market.

The Salem Public Library donated the bookmobile for Hillsboro to use on a temporary basis, and at very little cost.

“We are renting it from the city of Salem’s public library,” said an appreciative Smith. “Salem wasn’t using it. It was sitting in their facilities lot, and it’s in good shape. Salem has no regular bookmobile schedule due to budget constraints, so they are letting us rent it for $100 a month until we reopen the Shute Park library.”

Saturday, May 11, is scheduled to be the last day the Shute Park library will be open to the public. After that, the primary contractor, Portland-based Howard S. Wright Co., will swoop in and start rebuilding the facility. The library is not scheduled to reopen until March of 2014.

Work on the Shute Park branch represents phase two of a $9 million reconstruction of Hillsboro’s two library buildings. The city’s main library, at 2850 N.E. Brookwood Parkway, is in the process of wrapping up a major project that is almost doubling the size of the facility. The building’s expansion is being accomplished by finishing and opening the library’s second floor, which has been vacant since the facility was built in 2007. Budget issues at that time prevented the upper floor from being completed.

“It’s a 77,000-square-foot building, and by opening the second floor, we’re adding almost 36,000 square feet,” said Smith.

The expansion project at the main library is expected to be completed in May, and as work on the Brookwood building winds down, the contractor is turning its attention to the Shute Park building, which opened in 1975.

The Shute Park structure needs extensive upgrading, including replacing old, inefficient windows; installing a new roof; retrofitting the entire building for enhanced safety in case of an earthquake; and replacing the electrical systems and the plumbing. In addition, the library’s main entrance will be moved from the south side of the building to the west side.

“The 35-year-old Shute Park branch was in need of a total makeover,” explained Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey. “This is a sound investment in our community’s liveability.”

To accommodate the Shute Park library’s patrons, the bookmobile will be parked across the street from the library Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bookmobile service will begin on June 4.

Also, the library-sponsored “Digital Bridge” computer lab will begin on Monday, June 3, in the education room adjacent to the lobby of the Hillsboro Police Depart at 250 S.E. 10th Ave. Computer lab hours will be Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

According to Smith, library computer assistants will monitor the lab during the hours it is open, and there will be 13 public access computers and a printer available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meanwhile, childrens’ programs will be shifted to the Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center, which is right across the street from the library.

Smith said the library staff is now engaged in the process of setting up the collection that will go into the 28-foot bookmobile on loan from Salem.

Because the use of the bookmobile is temporary, Smith pointed out that Hillsboro won’t repaint the vehicle, despite the fact it has “Salem Public Library” emblazoned across its flanks.

“We’ll find a way to cover that up,” he said.

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