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PHOTOS: Turning around Anchorage's aging libraries

One of the ideas being proposed is to remodel the poorly-designed checkout area, taking advantage of new technologies to reduce the space required and make the entrance more accessible. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
At the Loussac library, Anchorage's largest, the former audio/video checkout area is being converted into a flexible meeting space. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Anchorage Public Library Director Mary Jo Torgeson, in the job 18 months, has a difficult task ahead of her revitalizing Anchorage's five libraries. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Thanks to a gift of the downtown Anchorage Rotary, the Loussac library has a teen area, with video creation tools and other interactive elements. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
While the Anchorage library system doesn't have fewer books than it once did, it is seeing a growing interest in e-books. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Eventually all books in Anchorage libraries will be fitted with Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tags, reducing physical handling needs and allowing existing library staff to participate in more public outreach. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Eventually all books in Anchorage libraries will be fitted with Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tags, reducing physical handling needs and allowing existing library staff to participate in more public outreach. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan, seen here in a poster encouraging people to read, appointed the new Anchorage Public Library Director, Mary Jo Torgeson. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
A well-used gate at the Loussac Library circulation desk. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Crumbling concrete at the awkwardly designed second-level main entrance to the Loussac library. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Ceiling tiles falling apart at the aging Loussac library. Anchorage's libraries are struggling with budget difficulties, aging facilities and the changing needs of their customers. Nov 22, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Sean Doogan

In dire need of repair, with an outdated layout, leaky ceilings, and insufficient capacity for internet bandwidth and program space, Anchorage's Z.J. Loussac Library is showing its age. It will take millions of dollars to address the most pressing needs of the crumbling building and allow it to host the technology essential to gathering and spreading information today.

For years, problems at the Loussac library have been addressed as they came up, but now, more than 25 years after it was built, a major renovation is needed to keep the building safe and make it ready for a new generation of library users.

READ MORE: Anchorage Libraries Director: 'The building is holding us back'