Fulton County re-opens downtown library after $50 million renovation project

Fulton County Commissioners and library leaders celebrate the re-opening of the Central Library Monday.

Emil Moffatt/WABE News

The doors of the Fulton County Central Library have re-opened in downtown Atlanta for the first time in three years following a $50 million renovation project.

The 41-year-old building just off Peachtree Street has been made over, with state of the art technology, classrooms, art galleries, a rooftop patio and a test kitchen. A bank of windows have softened the building’s brutalist stone exterior.

Gayle Holloman, Executive Director of the library system, says that’s her favorite part.

“I just love being able to sit there and look out that window,” said Holloman. “It’s just phenomenal. We were not able to do that before. And so it brings people into the library and brings the library out.”

The new space will offer job training and ESL classes.

The renovations unveiled Monday at the Central Library are the centerpiece of an overall $275 million upgrade the Fulton’s library system, approved by voters in 2008.

A technology upgrade was part of $50 million in renovations to Fulton County’s Central Library. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

Chairman Robb Pitts said he was originally skeptical of the plan to renovate the Central Library building. He favored demolishing the old facility and starting from scratch.

“What we have here, I’m extremely, extremely proud and pleased with the final product,” said Pitts. “I think that our citizens will obviously enjoy it, but also visitors who come to Atlanta and Fulton County will take the time to visit this facility.”

Natalie Hall, Vice Chair of Fulton’s Board of Commissioners says libraries should do more than just house books and research material.

“The Central Library is going to be a great library that provides outstanding services and programs and brings all of our communities together in Fulton County,” said Hall. “And that’s why I believe it’s called ‘Central’ — central to everything in Fulton County. Vibrant and beautiful.”