AUSTIN - Austin's new Central Library, 710 Cesar Chavez St., is set to open in May 2017.
At 200,000 sf, it's double the size of the library it's replacing at Eighth and Guadalupe St. and is ambitious in its lists of new features.
Walk into the building from the Shoal Creek side and the first thing you'll see will be a cooking demonstration space.
Walk into the Cesar Chavez entrance and you'll be at the doors of an event center and performance room (a revenue generator for the library).
Walk in from Second St. and you'll be alongside a restaurant.
Visitors will swipe a stack of books over a kiosk to instantly check them out electronically. A technology "petting zoo" will let residents play with the newest electronic devices.
An underground garage will hold 360 cars and 200 bikes. A gallery space will display local and visiting artwork.
The build includes extensions of Second St. and West Ave., with a bright new bridge for cars and pedestrians over Shoal Creek, and an amphitheater along the creek's shores.
The new library is close to its $120 million cost estimate when the project was approved three years ago. It has had some cost increases, including $1.3 million in June to extend the architectural contract.