Library renovations wrapping up

By John Dilmore
john@casscountynow.com

Ongoing renovations to the interior of the Atlanta Public Library, consisting primarily of new flooring, are scheduled to be completed just as the busy summer season is getting underway.
The library, thanks to an approximately $50,000 appropriation from the Atlanta City Council, has seen new carpeting installed on the library’s second floor, and new flooring put down in offices on the first floor, Library Director Jackie Icenhower said. It’s hoped the projects will be completed by the end of this week.
Some services that have been impeded, such as genealogy services centered on the second floor, should be up and going again beginning June 5.
The addition of new windows is also planned in the near future, and library staffers are hopeful still more work can be done.
“Mr. (City Manager David) Cockrell told us one time, ‘I have never seen anyone who can do more with less than this library,’” Icenhower said. “We are going to make that money stretch, and we’ve actually had a couple of things come in under bid, so I’m hoping they let us use that money for some other things.”
Icenhower noted that while wood laminate was put down in places on the first floor, it wasn’t used to cover up marble and terra cotta tile flooring uncovered in spots once the renovations began. Those surfaces, installed during the 1930s, will be left in place as a nod to the building’s past, she said.
“Part of it we’re just going to have cleaned and sealed so we can leave it, and pay homage to our history,” Icenhower said.
Meanwhile, the library’s summer reading program – themed “Build a Better World – is beginning the second week of June. The program, which runs from June 5-July 28, features weekly door prizes, a chance at a grand prize, and of course, lots of reading. 
Another program library staff are excited about is Summer Foods, according to Randi Strutton, programming and outreach manager.
“We’ve teamed up with East Texas Food Bank again this year,” she said. “We did it for the first time last summer.”
The program provides sack lunches for kids ages 1-18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday-Friday, from June 5 to Aug. 18. “They can come and get a free lunch,” Strutton said. “They don’t have to sign up for it, they don’t have to fill out paperwork.” There will also be a snack time held from 2-3 p.m., something that’s new this year. The programs are helpful to kids who may depend on free or reduced lunches when school is in session.
Other programs planned include Family Place, which helps parents understand the importance of play in their children’s lives, and also a Next Chapter Book Club, for adults with disabilities. An event focused on the solar eclipse in August is also in the works.
More information on programs can be found on the library’s Facebook page, or obtained by calling the library at 903-796-2112.
The programs are put on not only by the library’s small paid staff, but a large group of dedicated volunteers.
“It would be almost impossible for us to put on all of it by ourselves, without the folks who give their time,” Strutton said.

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