PITTSBURG -- The library has turned a new chapter in its nearly half-century life, thanks to a remodeling and expansion project that has given the building a fresh look and additional space.

Library clerk Tahmeka Ramirez can see those changes reflected in the faces of library patrons who are coming through the doors since the transformation was completed a few weeks ago to the building that first opened its doors in 1966.

"It's beautiful. I was born and raised here so I'm used to the old look of the library. It was kind of outdated. Everything was pretty much the same, from the circulation desk, to the carpet, to the way the books were set up," Ramirez said. "It seems really bright in here, now that they've painted the walls and added a lot more light in here. I see it in the faces of the patrons when they walk in here."

The library will hold a grand reopening and ribbon-cutting event this Saturday at 11 a.m. A $3 million redevelopment project paid for the expansion, addition and improvements at the Pittsburg branch of the Contra Costa County Library, which is celebrating it 100 birthday this year.

"It's hard to get excited about the library and reading when you come to a place that's not exciting. It looks nice and bright now," said Chris Brown, acting community library manager for the Pittsburg branch.

Michelle Miller is among the patrons who are already appreciating the changes. The Pittsburg resident visits the library regularly with her two children, 5-year-old Jenna and 9-year-old Joaquin.

"I like it. I think it's a lot more spacious and open," Miller said as Jenna carefully spread out several brightly-colored children's books on a counter for Ramirez to check out.

The changes include a larger library and remodeling work that includes new paint and carpeting, new computers, improved lighting, an improved electronic checkout and return area, an improved teen area and space for the Friends of the Pittsburg Library. The improved electronic checkout area frees up librarians to spend more time helping patrons and taking care of other library tasks, Brown said.

There is also the addition of a community room that local groups can use for meetings.

"The idea is to allow all the groups to have a place to have meetings and gather," Brown said.

A cafe that is part of the library space will open in the fall. The cafe will also have a separate entrance from the library to provide a place for people who have business in the nearby city hall and courthouse with a place to take a break.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED
What: Grand re-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Pittsburg branch of the Contra Costa County Library will feature children's activities that include face painting, a magic show and a scavenger hunt.
Where: 80 Power Avee.
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Info: 925-427-8390