The new downtown Main Library will open Aug. 5. Tim Kambitsch, the executive director of the Dayton Metro Library (pictured), said the opening festivities will be downtown’s grandest event since the Schuster Center opened. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Lisa Powell
Photo: Lisa Powell

Thousands expected for downtown Dayton library opening

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people are expected to come to downtown Dayton on Saturday for the grand opening of the newly renovated Dayton Metro Library main branch.

It will be a day filled with a ribbon cutting, followed by a first look into the library, as well as a street festival, open house and entertainment.

The grand opening events begin at 11:30 a.m. with a street festival on Patterson Blvd between Second and Third streets. The festival goes on until 4:30 p.m.

The block-long ribbon cutting will be at 12:28 p.m., and the library will be open from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for people to come inside and have a look. About 2,500 people can fit in the library under fire code rules, said Tim Kambitsch, library system executive director.

The $64 million project completely remade the building at at the 215 E. Third St, part of the library system’s taxpayer funded $187 million renovation and replacement project for its facilities.

RELATED: A sneak peek at Dayton’s $64M downtown library

The new main library is the tenth of 18 projects to be completed, Kambitsch said.

“The amount of light and space that people will experience throughout the library is so different from the enclosed dark feel of the old library that there really is no comparison between the two,” Kambitsch said. “People have to come downtown and see this building.”

Parking will be on downtown streets, lots and garages.

Portions of downtown roads will close starting at 10 a.m. Saturday .

Closures will be as follows:

Patterson Blvd. between Second and Third streets - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Patterson Blvd. between Third and Fourth streets - 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Third St. between St. Clair St. and Wayne Ave. - 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

RELATED: Dayton Metro Library grew from ‘two well-filled bookcases’ to gigantic main branch

The Open House is free and open to the public. It features performances by Muse Machine, The Human Race Theatre Company, Zoot Theater, and bluegrass and folk music by The Repeating Arms, Sierra Leone and The Art of Word in Motion. Activities include Tech Demos, Make & Create, and meeting mascots Cosmo and Pip.

Kambitsch said the library is outfitted with 135 all-new computers, up from the previous 40, along with improved technology infrastructure, new seating and tables. Laptop computers can be borrowed. The library’s circulating collection of books will be returned from other library locations and books will be brought out of storage.

“You will actually see more books on the shelves than in the old library,” Kambitsch said.

Voters in 2012 approved a property tax bond issue to revamp the library system.

Eight projects remain to be done, all branch libraries. Three are in final stages of design, with one of them - the West Carrollton branch - ready to be bid out. Replacement of the Wilmington-Stroop branch in Kettering and the new southeast branch at Belmont High School should be under construction by the end of the year.

The remaining five projects are replacement of library branches with new ones on in new locations. Property acquisition is underway.

The downtown library came in on budget but nine months behind schedule.

“It feels wonderful because we’ve been working on this for so many years that to have it become a reality is hard to describe,” Kambitsch said.

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