HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Renovations are underway at the Herrick District Library in Holland.

Crews are demolishing parts of the Herrick Main Library on River Avenue near 12th Street. They’ll be installing a new roof, along with updating the library’s interior.

The project comes a few years after Herrick North Branch was expanded and renovated.

Diane Kooiker, the director of the Herrick District Library, said the 25-year-old main library’s roof was starting to leak and staff members had to put out buckets to catch the water during every rainstorm.

“We knew that we needed to redo the roof, which is no minor thing in a library, but we also had the opportunity then to look at floor coverings, how our library’s changing and the ability to update some of those things as well,” she said.

In 2022, the HDL Board of Trustees approved a $5.7 million contract to Lakewood Construction, which is working on the construction and architecture for renovations at the library.


Along with replacing the roof, the library is adding new study rooms. It will have 11 on the main floor and two in the teen department.

“We have had such a demand for study rooms,” Kooiker said. “And the idea of being able to be in a public space and to study quietly, but also with other people: We have a sense of connection then, even though we’re studying and doing our own thing, and I think that that’s really important.”

A rendering of the Herrick District Library renovations. (Courtesy)
A rendering of the Herrick District Library renovations. (Courtesy)

It will also be adding a new imaginative place space in the children’s room, which will be made to look similar to the buildings found on Windmill Island. The idea came from the North Branch, which added a Big Red lighthouse play space during its renovations. Library staff started to look at other Holland icons that could be turned into an “imaginative play space.”

“We couldn’t figure out how to make a windmill work, but we thought we could emulate some of the Windmill Island houses and make it look like that,” Kooiker said.

The two-story play structure will have a large window that can be used for things like a puppet theater, a shop window or wherever kids’ imaginations take them. Stairs will lead to a space where kids can read and interact.

A rendering of the Herrick District Library renovations. (Courtesy)
A rendering of the Herrick District Library renovations. (Courtesy)

“The idea is that one of the best things that kids have is an imagination. And we wanted to create a space where the kids could play and use their imagination in all sorts of ways,” Kooiker said.

There will also be a Lego lab on the main floor, created with millions of Legos donated to the library, Kooiker said, adding that there are “unlimited ideas that can be sparked from Legos.”

Book Nook, the used book store run by Friends of the Herrick District Library that helps support programing and collections, will be renovated. Near the Book Nook in the lower level will be a fireplace and a cozy, quiet reading room.

A rendering of the Herrick District Library renovations. (Courtesy)
A rendering of the Herrick District Library renovations. (Courtesy)

“Although I’ve never been a huge fan of fireplaces in libraries, I’ve come to love them. And so in the lower level here, we will have a quiet reading room and we will have the fireplace next door to it,” Kooiker said. “I think it will be a lovely space where people can just enjoy reading in a quiet space. So there’s a lot to like about the renovations.”


The way people use the library has changed since the building was first opened, Kooiker said, and the renovations will reflect that.

“When the library was built, Google was either a relatively new thing or not a thing,” she said. “And so the way that people ask reference questions is definitely different than what it was when the library was built. So we had shelves and shelves and shelves that were dedicated to reference materials and reference books, and those are no longer needed.”

While books haven’t gone away, she explained, they’re no longer the only focus. Kooiker said the library has become “a gathering space, it becomes a place where you can meet in safety and have a great conversations.”

She said the library also helps “bridge any digital divide” in the community with high-speed internet access, computers and technology expertise. Herrick District Library has Groundworks, a digital media lab and maker space, that offers technology help to patrons. That will be moved up to the main floor.

“The idea behind our maker space is that you might want to use or learn how to use different technologies, and you just need some help in getting started,” Kooiker explained. “Or you need some help in a specific problem, and that’s what our maker space is for, to learn how to use those different technologies, or to at least try it.”


Herrick District Library will remain open throughout the renovations. Kooiker said things have been going well so far, and it’s only had to close for partial days a handful of times.

“So far … the construction company has been a dream to work with and have a really, really worked hard to work around our schedule and keep us open as much as possible,” she said.

Renovations are currently in the first of three phases. The first is expected to be completed by mid-November, the second is expected to be done around April 2024 and the final phase is expected to be wrapped up by August 2024.

Kooiker said staff will be moving collections around quite a bit throughout the process. For now the children’s collection has been moved to the lower level auditorium and the teen space. In phase two, the teen collection will be moved, she said.

“It’s always a little bit of a treasure hunt to see where the collections are located now,” she said. “And we have staff available to help you find whatever it is that you’re looking for.”

A rendering of the Herrick District Library renovations. (Courtesy)
A rendering of the Herrick District Library renovations. (Courtesy)

Staff members have also been displaced, and the library can’t host as much programming as normal. Kooiker said they’re working with community programs to host programs.

“It will be quite a process,” Kooiker said. “…But I think these things are temporary and the results of the renovation will be fantastic “

If you don’t want to deal with construction noises, the North Branch is also open. Herrick District Library also has two book vending machines, one in the Holland Heights neighborhood near Community Action House and one in Park Township near the Dragonflies Discovery Preschool, as well as several digital services online.

“The library is an incredibly busy place,” Kooiker said. “It is a place where people come and they connect, they find resources, they find a meeting space. Libraries are still vital to communities — that third space — and so it is important for us to keep up the library as a physical space.”

Keep up with the latest on the renovation project at herrickdl.org.