Design work has been completed for the soon-to-be relocated South Branch Library scheduled to open in the Mall of Abilene early next year, said Lori Grumet, City Librarian.
The mall recently approved the new design for the branch, which will be next door to J.C. Penney, she said.
Once the library hires a contractor, construction will begin, Grumet said.
The architectural firm Hidell & Associates of Carrollton completed the design work for the library. Grumet said the firm has extensive experience in designing libraries across the state, including the Oak Lawn Branch Library in Dallas and ones in Waco, Stephenville, Denton and McKinney.
Grumet said she expected the library to open at the end of February or in early March.
The Abilene City Council voted in July to move the branch from its present location at 1401 S. Danville, where it opened in 1998 as a pilot project.
In September, the library held four information sessions to garner public feedback for the new library branch. Grumet said 104 people attended the sessions and provided input on the design.
"I think we covered the bases pretty well with what the public wants," she said.
The common requests from the meetings include bright colors, private study space and easy access to the exterior entrance of the library.
Several people also suggested the design tie into the city's connection to Dyess Air Force Base, which closed its library in April, Grumet said. Materials from the Dyess library were transferred to the Abilene library system instead of letting them go to waste or to the "great library in the sky," she said.
The new branch library will be more than 20,000 square feet, compared to 5,600 square feet at the Danville location. Besides the lack of room, the present library has been plagued with plumbing problems and an occasional car driving through the plate-glass windows