Flint, MI—After more than two years and over $30 million in renovations, the Flint Public Library is celebrating its grand opening May 19 – 21 with a host of events at its 1026 E. Kearsley St. location.
“Yes, third time’s a charm,” joked Wanda Harden, Flint Public Library Communications Manager, during a May 18 tour of the facility.
While Harden said supply chain shortages pushed the grand opening weekend back twice (the last anticipated opening was March 2022), she said staff can’t wait to serve Flint residents again—even more of them given the renovation.
“According to our architect, when they re-did their library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa usership went up by 30 percent,” Harden said, adding that FPL previously served around 500 visitors per day.
Outside of the library building, there is now a courtyard with seating and an expansive view of Kearsley Street, curved conversation benches, and a mural full of story book characters by local muralist Kevin Burdick.
Inside, the space is equipped with plenty of comfortable seating, conference rooms, desktop computers and laptops, self-checkout stations, sensory areas for children, filtered water stations, and, of course, the library’s expansive collection of books, microfilm, DVDs, and CDs.
From preserving the original mosaic tile artwork to ensuring the library is fully accessible, Harden noted that every detail of the building’s new design was considered with the community in mind.
“It’s for the people of Flint,” Harden said of what sticks out to her most about the completed renovation. “This building is the only building in the Cultural Center owned by the people of Flint.”
The Flint Public Library’s renovation project cost $30.6 million and was funded by Flint resident approved bonds, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and capital campaign donations from individuals, families, and foundations.
The library is welcoming guests on Thursday, May 19 from 12pm – 4pm for self-guided tours of the building. Then, on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21, FPL operations will resume as normal with other celebratory events sprinkled in.
More information on the Flint Public Library’s grand opening activities can be found here.