Most of the main Lakeland Public Library on Lake Morton will be closed to the public for at least eight months starting in mid-February as crews construct a Lakeland History and Culture Center.

The History and Culture Center will serve as an exhibit space about Lakeland’s history, focusing on the city’s various ethnicities. The center will be in the portion of the library that has been used to display DVDs and the Spanish language collection. Construction will last eight to twelve months.

The main library will be operating at a reduced capacity, with the following available during construction:

  • A bestseller collection
  • Reserve pickups, returns, and fine paying
  • The children’s room
  • Young adult computers
  • The Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro

Adult areas, donations, wifi, and public-access computers will be unavailable during construction.

The Larry R. Jackson Branch Library in North Lakeland and the eLibrary in South Lakeland are unaffected. Patrons may use wifi and public-access computers at those locations.

The library’s collection will be store in a strip mall on Memorial Boulevard during construction. Its contents will not be available for public browsing though items may be reserved and picked up online or via phone.

“We know it’s gonna be inconvenient for quite a while,” said Lisa Lillyquist, the city librarian. “We’re going to make sure the library is a wonderful place to come back to.”

Construction is planned to begin in early March and will include changes to the ceiling, lighting, and HVAC system. Black and Brew will remain open but not pay rent for one year, in an agreement with the city of Lakeland, because of reduced foot traffic due to construction and the pandemic.

“We’re really looking forward to all the changes that will be in store,” said Lillyquist. “We think that the majority will appreciate and enjoy them once they can return.”

Floorplan of the Lakeland History and Cultural Center within the main library

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Jason is an intern from Florida Polytechnic University.

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