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Construction in final stages on 2 new library buildings

(ran South, East, Beach, Seminole editions)

Construction work is down to the final touches on the James Weldon Johnson and South Branch libraries.

Last week, crews were working on landscaping, painting and carpeting. Soon will come the books, computers, furniture and other equipment.

The Johnson Library, which is next door to the Enoch Davis Center on 18th Avenue S., will open to patrons some time in September. South Branch Library, which is on Roy Hanna Drive, off 62nd Avenue S, will open in October.

The city hasn't set specific dates yet, said Mary Gaines, interim library director and branch coordinator for St. Petersburg.

Each library will have a reading room, computer lab, teen resource room, work room, choir room, children's activities area, children's story room and community room.

The libraries also have security detectors for tracking all books to avoid theft when they are open to the public.

The construction cost of Johnson Library is $1.7-million, and South Branch is $1.6-million, said general contractor Matt Fetterhoff of GLE Construction.

Johnson Library, at 14,200 square feet, is a little bigger than South Branch, which is 13,500.

Still, the new South Branch will be twice as big as its predecessor, which has been in the Boyd Hill Nature Center. Boyd Hill will use the old library space to expand.

The James Weldon Johnson Branch Library on 18th Avenue S. is scheduled to open in September. The library's facilities include have a reading room, computer lab, teen resource room and community room.