Sebastopol's small but popular library will close today for three to four months for a long-awaited renovation.
The project, expected to cost $649,000, includes installing new shelves with seismic bracing, staff work stations that have better ergonomics, more computers for the public, better access for the disabled, improved lighting and new rugs.
The closure will leave a gap in the daily life of the community, librarian Sue Struthers said.
"It's the center of this community," she said, noting that some people come in four and five days a week. "It is Sebastopol's community center."
There were dozens of people at the library Thursday perusing the shelves, reading periodicals and using the computers, many with children in tow.
Randoph Houghtelling, 74, of Sebastopol said he is at the library three to four times a week.
"It is quiet, I like books, it gets me out of the house," he said.
Sara Ritchie of Sebastopol takes her twin sons, Reach charter school seventh-graders Moses and Josiah, to the library every day to do homework.
"We'll have to find another place," Ritchie said. "It is a special place."
Terry Ronine of Sebastopol takes his 18-month-old daughter, Isabella, once or twice a week to spend time in the children's section and for story time.