Widgets Magazine
  • Belle Isle Library celebrates reopening

    After an extensive $7.8 million renovation and expansion, the Belle Isle Library celebrates its reopening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at 3:30 PM and events all weekend.

    Press release:


    Belle Isle Library reopens with a three-day celebration, April 8-11

    The community is invited to celebrate the reopening of the newly renovated Belle Isle Library, 5501 N Villa Ave., during its inaugural weekend, April 8-11.

    The celebration begins Friday, April 8, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. The three-day party continues throughout the weekend with concerts, programs and tours of the library’s new Maker Space, where people of all ages can experience new technologies.

    Guests can take pictures at the photobooth, solve a scavenger hunt and listen to performers Casey and Mina, musician Lucas Ross and cellist Sam Kahre. Other programs include arts and crafts and outdoor games.

    “Belle Isle Library is an institution in our city, but even iconic buildings that have produced countless memories need a refresh to stay relevant,” said Mayor David Holt. “This comprehensive renovation reinvigorates the library and ensures it will serve a new generation of residents. My thanks to the people of Oklahoma City for continuing to make these investments in our City.”

    The library will offer a wide variety of programming for everyone from toddlers to seniors. Activities include book clubs, STEAM opportunities, community presentations and take-home kits. The MLS Studios offers a Maker Space that gives guests opportunities to use a 3D printer, a Cricut, sewing and embroidery machines.

    The renovated two-story building features an open floor plan, two large meeting rooms, five study rooms, a teen area, a children’s area, and a programming room. The original building was expanded by 12,000 square feet in the renovation, bringing the total square footage to 32,000. New computers and furniture round out the improvements. The collection includes more than 68,000 books, magazines, DVDs and other forms of media.

    “The Metropolitan Library System is grateful to the Library Endowment Trust's planned gift from the estate of Gordon and LaVerne Taylor for the specific purpose of supporting the Belle Isle Library building project,” said Metropolitan Library System executive director Larry White. “Their generous gift empowered the Library Endowment Trust to provide $950,000 to expand the scope of the Belle Isle library project to expand and update library spaces, including brand new meeting rooms which will bear the name of the Taylors. Their generous planned gift will enhance our ability to serve the community's needs within the Belle Isle community for many years to come. MLS thanks the Gordon and LaVerne Taylor estate and the Library Endowment Trust for their support.”

    The 59-year-old library’s signature Mid-Century Modern look, circular design, stone, and glass was thoughtfully incorporated into the building’s expansion and renovation by architectural firm ADG.

    The library was originally designed by architect Jack Mills with Turnbull & Mills in the early 1960s. The project contractor is Wynn Construction, the same contractor that built the library in 1963.

    The $7.8 million renovation and expansion was paid for through Better Streets, Safer City Bond Issue that was passed by voters in 2017 and a generous $950,000 donation from Gordon and LaVerne Taylor.

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