Library to reopen soon after updating complete

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2003

MEADVILLE — What started as a plan to repair a leaking roof hasturned into a modernization project that is nearing completion atthe Franklin County Public Library, officials said.

The $170,000 project, which was well below the original estimateof $250,000, has been under way since November. Library officialsare shooting for the second week in August for project completion,although they indicated the contractors’ work schedule will play apart in reaching that goal.

“We’re anxious to get everything finished and get back inplace,” said Jo Porter, Franklin County librarian.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Henry Ledet, director of the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin PublicLibrary System, said the original idea was to replace a leakingroof on the library that was built in 1976. He said Franklin Countysupervisors agreed to the roof work, but the funds were matchedwith state grant money to pursue a larger library project.

“They made it possible to not only put on the new roof but tomodernize the whole building,” Ledet said.

Among the improvements Ledet mentioned were a new librarian’soffice, centralized computers, a book theft alarm system similar toone in the Lincoln County library and replacing old carpet withtiles.

“That makes upkeep of the place a lot easier,” Ledet said of thenew tile flooring.

The library has been closed since April while work is goingon.

“We kept it open up until we had to close it to move all thebook shelves out to do the floors,” Ledet said.

Helping with the project has kept library workers busy, Portersaid.

“We put all the books in boxes and moved them in a week,” Portersaid.

With the new librarian’s office, officials were able to dedicatea room for the library’s genealogy materials. Porter said that is apopular attraction among library patrons.

“We really are proud of our genealogy department,” Porter said.”We have people from all over the country come to do researchhere.”

The project is also addressing handicapped accessibilityconcerns, Ledet said.

“Now every part of the library is handicapped accessible, whichwasn’t the case before,” Ledet said.

Porter was also pleased with some new equipment that was able tobe bought in conjunction with the project.

One item is a large new refrigerator that can store foods formeetings in the nearby meeting room or for other gatherings. Portersaid local businesses contributed to that purchase.

“We are thrilled to death to have that,” Porter said.

A large new circulation desk is featured in the library’s mainarea. The desk is sure to be an active area as the library averages125-150 books checked out a day, Porter said.

“They’ve got loyal library patrons over there,” Ledet said aboutFranklin library activity.

Porter said the large print book area has been moved to front oflibrary. She said that was to accommodate elderly patrons who haddifficulty getting to back of library where the area waspreviously.

“Now we’re going to have it convenient for them,” Porter said.”It’s going to be so nice.”

Porter said a lot of work remains before the library is ready toreopen. Officials, though, are eager for that day to arrive.

“It’s going to be beautiful when it’s finished,” said LibraryClerk Enola McAllister.

Porter said an open house would be held once the work iscompleted and the library is back in operation.

“We are really excited about having everything so neat and soclean,” Porter said. “It feels like it’s a new place.”