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As Renovations Begin, Fate Of Central Library’s Facade Still Unclear

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s main branch on Peachtree Street is a notable example of blocky, concrete Brutalist architecture.
The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s main branch on Peachtree Street is a notable example of blocky, concrete Brutalist architecture.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Atlanta’s Central Library is now closed for extensive renovations, but it’s still unclear how the building’s famous facade might change.

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s main branch on Peachtree Street is a notable example of blocky, concrete Brutalist architecture.

Plans include changes to the library’s interior like opening the floor plan and adding meeting space. Changes to the exterior aren’t finalized.

“[Until] we get a builder in place going through floor by floor with the things that we want to do, we just aren’t ready to decide whether or not there’s going to be changes to the exterior or not,” said Clauda Strange, with the library system.

Earlier this year, proposed changes to the Central Library’s facade, including the possible addition of windows, raised alarm among local preservation groups.

Strange expects the final renovation plans to be public by the end of the year, once Fulton County picks a builder to do the work. The bid process to pick a contractor closes next week.

In the meantime, the library system is shifting services from the Central Library to the nearby Auburn Avenue Library.  It’s also taking time to audit the collection at its main branch.

“Frankly a lot of the books were not checked out in years and years and years, so we’re trying to go through a weeding process where we figure out what books haven’t moved in sometimes 20 years,” Strange said.

Strange says a lot of the Central Library’s collection will go into storage during the renovation, but only if those books are available at other branches.

Fulton County is closing seven libraries this summer for renovations as part of an effort to modernize 23 branches around the county.

Library officials say renovations at the Central Library could take as long as two years.