Library to open for WL open house

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Even though construction will continue, the public will finally have full access to the West Liberty Public Library on Nov. 24, the same day as the yearly WL Holiday Open House.

"We will be open for the open house this year, in our own building," said Library Director Janette McMahon, with much enthusiasm.

She and the staff have worked diligently at the original library location on Spencer Street, along side Todd-Hackett Construction, to help bring the building through the final stages of repair and renovation.

She says the library and construction workers have fostered a good relationship, working simultaneously in order to make full use of allotted time constraints.

Specifically, McMahon and other members of the staff have taken charge of the downstairs area, rooms that will focus on West Liberty's children.

"We're doing some unique things downstairs, we decided to save money and have us [library board staff] do it, because in the end, we can have exactly what we want," said McMahon.

Right now, construction workers are laying brick in correlation with the roofers laying tile. A section of the building's south side is nearly completed, having passed a rigorous water test.

City officials closed the library on May 15, 2012, nearly a year and a half ago. Water damage was to blame, and every precaution has been taken to prevent it from happening again.

As the walls are finished, they'll be subjected to a high velocity water spray in order to test their durability. If even one spot of water is found on the inside of the wall, it will be completely redone.

According to McMahon, by the beginning of November, flooring installation will begin, one of the last steps needed to get West Liberty back in its library building.

Around Nov. 13, the week before the opening date, both library locations will be completely closed in order for staff to move books and materials back into the building.

While the inside of the building will look fundamentally the same, the way in which the space is used has been changed. Various sections will be dedicated to certain age groups, and more electrical outlets are beings added to accommodate 21st century needs.

Another change: The West Liberty Parks and Recreation (PAR) Department will move its main office into the library.

"I'm a firm believer that we need to best utilize city resources," said McMahon, "Of course libraries are changing, and we change our services to meet the new trends and demands of what our community is asking…and it turns out that as you are able to tidy up, making the staffing tighter and the building looking nicer, we ended up with space not being utilized to the best of its ability."

The solution was to bring in the PAR department. McMahon approached the PAR Director Nick Heath and the library board approved the space. Currently the PAR department is located in the old fire station on Spencer Street.

"They are natural partners with us," she added, "Just because we have a lot of the same goals in serving the community, whether its literacy or different types of activities."
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