Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mid-City Library to move to historic Automotive Life Insurance Building

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2016 at 4:26 PM

click to enlarge The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • KEVIN ALLMAN
  • The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall.

The Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL), which narrowly averted eviction from its home at the American Can building last year, will move to the two-story Automotive Life Insurance Building at 4140 Canal Street, City Librarian Charles M. Brown announced today in a memo to staff and city officials.

The modernist building, which features a marble-and-glass facade and terrazzo flooring, was designed by Curtis & Davis Architects (who went on to design the New Orleans Rivergate) and opened in 1963, It was designated a city historic landmark by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission in 2010. The two-story building features 9,259 square feet of space on a 23,000-square-foot lot.

In a memo, Brown said the new facility will include a larger children's room, "a dedicated teen space" and a Spanish-language collection, along with community meeting spaces. The second floor will house library offices.

It will be the third home for the Mid-City library in six years. In 2010, the library moved from a strip mall building on N. Carrollton Avenue to a larger space in the American Can building on Orleans Avenue. That lease expired last year and the library began operating on a month-to-month basis. The landlord informed NOPL in August 2015 that the library would have to leave by Nov. 1, but District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry helped engineer a deal that allowed the library to stay in place until it could be relocated.

Brown's memo mentioned that there likely will be a two-week gap between the closing of the American Can location and the opening of the new facility on Canal Street, but gave no timetable beyond fall 2016.

Meanwhile, construction on the new Nora Navra branch library in the 7th Ward is set to begin this fall, with a tentative opening date of early 2018.

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