Bluebird Market takes Silverthorne Library under its wing for expansion
The North Branch of the Summit Library in Silverthorne will be closing on Monday in preparation for an expansion it has been planning since 2018.
The new library expansion will bring the library up to 12,000 square feet, with additional outdoor features. There will be a programming deck and a reading deck, both of which will look over the recreation path.
The whole project will cost around $3.2 million, which will be supplemented by capital campaign donations and funding from Summit County and library fundraising, including grants from both individuals and businesses.
Stephanie Ralph, the director of Summit County Libraries, said with the growth of Silverthorne, the library has felt a pressure for more space. With the Breckenridge branch being renovated in 2015 and the recent renovation of the Frisco branch, it’s Silverthorne’s turn for construction.
Katie Koop, the manager of the Silverthorne branch, said many people have asked her: why the expansion?
“We’re not making more book space, we’re making more people space,” Koop joked.
Ralph hopes the library will be a supportive place for the community to gather.
“One of the things that the libraries do for us all is it welcomes everybody,” she said. “So the door’s open, and your community comes in. It really is the only place where you don’t need to pay for membership. It’s not exclusive. It truly is a kind of a market place.”
This expansion will make more room in the library for different programming like music and art, as well as for work with spaces for meetings and studying.
“Libraries are really changing. We are not just books anymore. We are really a service point in our community for so many different needs,” Ralph said.
Koop is most excited about the additional programming space. Before expansion, there was only one room for any community event the library organized. But with an added 4,900 square feet, there will be completely separate rooms for all kinds of uses, including children’s events.
“It will have a lot of life and interest to it because we’ll be able to have art projects hanging on the wall after story time or kids playing and lingering and hanging out there,” Koop said. She added that right now they have to unpack and repack everything before the next event.
But come Tuesday July 12, the library will be moving into a space that’s more than double the square footage of their new building.
During the construction, which will last about 9 months, the Bluebird Market will host the north branch of the library in one of its 500-square-foot retail spaces on the upper level. However, they won’t be confined to that one small room. They’ll have the entire market space to host events and continue to provide the community with free and accessible resources.
Koop said she came up with idea during one of her own visits to Bluebird Market.
Even though the library cannot bring all of their books, Koop said not to worry, because the library is part of a larger system. Therefore, people can order books from different libraries around the state to be picked up at Bluebird Market. Along with a small selection of books they will bring with them, they will also have a few computers, a printer, and Koop said that Friends of the Library will still have a section in the corner of their retail space.
The owner of Bluebird Market, Scott Vollmer, said he’s excited to support the library and their programming during their stay.
“When Stephanie reached out about the idea about looking for space, I really couldn’t help but see the relationship being symbiotic for both,” he said. “With the library being a revolving community space, we know that a lot of additional people in the community will come in and check out their new location as well as frequent the market, pick up breakfast, lunch, read a book.”
Scott added that next Tuesday will be the first trivia night from 6-8 p.m. hosted by Koop. He also said there’s been talk of a marriage between literature and food — a potential idea where they match food mentioned in different books with restaurants in the Bluebird Market.
From the looks of it, both parties are excited to see what comes out of the partnership.
“I think it’s just going to be absolutely fascinating to see what happens,” Ralph said.
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