WINTHROP — The Bailey Public Library is on the move.

The nearly $1 million expansion and upgrade project that began in August will require the library to move temporarily to the Winthrop Commerce Center, located at the former Carleton Woolen Mill complex on Main Street, Librarian Richard Fortin said. The library will spend the winter at that location before moving back into the bigger and improved library building next summer.

“We’ll be open for business, however limited that might be,” Fortin said.

The library will close on Nov. 24 and re-open Dec. 8 as a scaled-down version. Most of the books will be moved to town storage, but some will be transferred to the commerce center.

“We’ll have a portion of our collection available for lending,” Fortin said.

The new location is on the first floor of the commerce center, just a couple of suites down from the Commerce Cafe.

“Essentially, it’s a conference room on the first floor,” Fortin said.

The library eventually will provide traditional services, including wireless Internet, printing and faxing, but it might take couple of weeks to get those services up and running, Fortin said.

“We’re still trying to work out the details with Fairpoint,” he said.

Fortin is unsure whether the library still will be able to conduct interlibrary loans.

The Bowdoin Street library building is undergoing a $945,000 expansion and renovation that will more than double its size, from 3,300 square feet to 8,400.

The project also includes a retrofit of the existing building’s heating and cooling systems, which require extensive inside work.

Fortin said library officials had hoped they might be able to continue operating at the existing library, but the extent of the work required made that impossible.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Fortin said. “It’s not ideal in any way, but it’s also not realistic to close for five months.”

The addition is framed and roofing is expected to begin Monday. Fortin said once the roof is complete, work will proceed much faster because multiple crews will be able work inside at the same time.

“As far as I understand, everything is progressing right on schedule, for the most part,” Fortin said.

A temporary sign announcing the planned closure and move was erected Friday outside the library. It attracted lots of questions and concerns from visitors, some of whom said they would take out dozens of books before the move to assure there would be no disruption in reading.

Fortin sympathizes with those concerns, but he said the new building will make the effort worthwhile.

“I don’t think anyone, in a year, will remember this,” he said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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