Library celebrates grand reopening
By LYNETTE SOWELL
A project which has been years in the making was celebrated on Monday, with a ribbon cutting and grand reopening at the Copperas Cove Public Library.
The library underwent a renovation project which began in the spring of this year and wrapped up last week. The renovation included creating a new entry for the library, which is now located to the left of the former entryway, which was enclosed and transformed into a reading room.
The reading room houses the Friends of the Library book sales shelves, as well as new seating which has USB and electric plug-ins. The flooring in the new reading room and lobby area is laminate, which allows for patrons to bring in beverages to sip while they read, study, or work.
Library Director Kevin Marsh surveyed the new lobby, which has high-top café style tables and chairs.
“I’m looking forward to seeing someone come in with their cup of coffee, sit at one of the tables, and open up a newspaper,” Marsh said.
“We’ve updated and renovated. We have new bathrooms, a new reading room….We have a new arrangement of space on the adult side of our library there’s more room for reading and for studying and for browsing the collection. There’s more room for the teens to get together and hang out in the Teen Zone, maybe play a little on the Xbox, maybe check out the graphic novels in the youth collection. We’ve tried to make this library a little something for everybody.”
One of the most notable changes to the renovation is that former feathered freeloaders, roosting pigeons, are now gone from their roosting spot at the old library entrance.
“No more pigeons!” said library staff member Martha Dye, as she gave patrons a tour of the new reading room.
Volunteers served cake, punch, and cookies while patrons explored the new and renovated space, prior to a ribbon cutting and a few remarks by Marsh.
He began by thanking the city for going forward with renovating the 20-year-old facility, and followed up with thanking local businesses, groups, and individuals for their contributions.
“The Friends of the Library made a huge contribution, and we could not have done it without their support. In addition to their ongoing support, they raised $14,000 which they provided the naming rights for the reading room, which will be dedicated in February, at the annual Friends appreciation dinner. This will be the Joe and Marion Palumbo Reading Room,” Marsh said.
“After the friends, we have some of our local businesses, the Active Construction Company, the Heart of Texas Federal Credit Union, each made a substantial contribution,” he added. “We have some of our local community groups, like Order of the Eastern Star, and the Optimist Club, Altrusa International, and the Noon Exchange Club.
“Then individuals, J.D. Sheffield, Steven and Patrice Branch, Connie Mitchell, Kevin and Wendy Marsh, Neva Moten and Elwood Shemwell, Marion Palumbo, Paul and Peg Fleet. Matthew Grooms, who is one of our Five Hills royalty, did some fundraising and made a contribution. Robert and Mary Hutcherson, Michael and Marianna McDonnell.
“Really, it’s a big cross section of the community, because it’s a big cross section of the community that uses this library. They use it for reading, for gathering, for information, for recreation. It’s a place to go when you don’t want to go home, and you don’t want to go to work. We’ve got something for everybody.”
Marsh said that the library has plenty of public access computers and has not had a waiting list for over two years now, for the computers.
“There’s enough for the community to come in and get their business done, applying for jobs, checking email, car insurance. If you don’t have it at home, we have it here for you.”
Former county judge and mayor, John A. Hull, attended the grand reopening and ribbon cutting for the facility.
“It’s beautiful, it really is. This is an example of what you can do if you put your mind to it. They’ve done a good job,” Hull said. He recalled the former locations for the library, where the city’s municipal court is now located, and even the former Main Street Nursery on the corner of Main and Veterans Avenue, which Hull said was also a previous site for the library.
He gave kudos to Marsh, calling him an “outstanding director.”
During the grand reopening, tours were available to see the new updates to the library, one of which is the inclusion of a “Teen Zone”, complete with an assortment of graphic novels and other teen books, as well as an Xbox and video screen, gaming chairs, and other chairs.
There is also a study area, with cubicles set up with tables and chairs just off the reference area.
The public access computers have their own dedicated area and all face the same direction, for holding classes, said Martha Dye, a library staff member conducting the tours.