New Polk library opens tomorrow
June 21, 2006
That’s the comment staff members of Polk County’s new library say they hear frequently whenever someone walks into the facility for the first time.
The bright and spacious new main library on Hwy. 108, next to the Isothermal Community College Polk County Campus, is set to open its doors to the public tomorrow at 9 a.m.
The shelves have been stacked with books, computers have been set up on new desks and cushioned seats and rocking chairs are waiting for visitors.
The library is not planning a grand opening celebration for possibly a couple months, but it will be back in business on Wednesday, giving library patrons their first look at the new space.
Visitors will immediately see that there’s a lot more space to look at compared to the old library on Walker Street in Columbus, which closed for the move at the end of May.
The old library, constructed in 1967, had only 6,700 square feet and had reached its shelf capacity in 1988.
The library had so outgrown the old space that books were stacked on the floor in some areas, staff members shared desks or went without a desk, equipment and storage materials were piled wherever there was room, and a table in the children’s area was used to process books going in and out of the library.
The $2.875 million new library has more than 15,000 square feet and will actually have space on shelves for future growth of the library’s collection.
The new library includes a large children’s area, a special section for local history and genealogy, a large office area, a seating area by a wall of windows overlooking woods, a computer room, and even a community meeting room. The move to the new library represents a leap forward for the county into the 21st century for library equipment, organization and design.
A crew of about 11 staff members and more than 15 regular volunteers have put in many hours over the past few weeks to complete the move and make sure everything’s in place. The Polk County High School Key Club and honors society also provided a valuable hand.
Even with all the help it took nine days to get all the items, including books, DVDs, audio CDs, music CDs, magazines, newspapers, and reference materials stacked onto shelves.
Cynthia Terwilliger, Community Relations Specialist for the Polk County Public Library, estimates that the staff members and volunteers stacked about 48,000 items on 240 shelves, not including the items in the children’s area and local history and genealogy section.
“Everyone’s been working very hard,” says Polk County Library Director Mark Pumphrey. “We’re very excited to open.”
Pumphrey and other library officials are quick to note the major contributions made by a long list of donors who made the library possible.
A book with 19 pages of donor names sits on a podium near the entrance to the library, and tiles of art honoring donors hang from the walls.
More than 900 individuals and business contributed funding for the project. The donations, combined with grants, provided about $1.25 million, and the county government contributed $1.625 million toward the total cost.
Tomorrow’s opening of the new building at 1289 W. Mills Street will mark the first time that Polk County’s public library has been in a location other than the Walker Street building.
The library hours remain the same. The library is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.