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North Miami library reopens after interior renovations, upgrades

Director Lucia Gonzalez addresses crowd at North Miami Public Library reopening Thursday.
Director Lucia Gonzalez addresses crowd at North Miami Public Library reopening Thursday. ldixon@miamiherald.com

After more than a year of operating under capacity in an annex, the North Miami Public Library is once again fully open for business.

Construction has been going on since August 2014 and was part of a $1.5 million project to upgrade and renovate the building’s interior to make the decades-old city landmark more modern.

The construction took place in phases and the facility was open on a limited basis for most of the construction, now the dream of Library Director Lucia Gonzalez has been fully realized.

“It was a project that took a whole community to accomplish; it was a project that took years in the making,” Gonzalez said.

The library features new sections for children and teenagers, a collection of Creole and Spanish-language books in the adult section, new computers and iPads and a complete renovation of the inside of the building.

“Children that are growing up today in our library that, thanks to this renovation project, are going to be telling their children ‘I grew up in that library,’ ” Gonzalez said.

Along with the renovations the library has partnered with two organizations Hoopla Digital and StoryCorps in the past year.

The partnership was announced in August and the Hoopla Digital app gives patrons access to more than 300,000 movies, music and eBooks with their library card. The city’s library was the 15th to partner with the program in Florida.

The StoryCorps @ Your Library program is part of the larger StoryCorps and allows people to give oral histories through one-on-one interviews to talk about life and their communities.

“This is a library that is open to everyone and we do encourage people to see what North Miami has to offer,” said Mayor Smith Joseph.

The construction hit a few delays as it progressed and the City Council had to approve $700,000 in additional funding at its June 23 meeting. The $1.5 million came through the city’s Progress 2013 initiative which was a collection of projects backed by the city’s initial profit from the sale of the SoLe Mia land on Biscayne Boulevard.

The city also budgeted $50,000 in funding for new library books in both this fiscal year and the 2014-15 fiscal year.

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