The Macon County Public Library celebrated a Grand Opening of their newly renovated facility on Tuesday, April 29.
The library has been through several stages of major overhaul in the last two years, after a long period of fund raising and organization on the part of library friends and board members. A large private donation and sizable state grant provided major pieces of the financial puzzle, and major construction on the library began last year. Dignitaries, key project movers, and well-wishers attended the celebration.
Library Board Member and lead organizer of the renovation, Nancy Doss, recognized several people by name in a short speech. She mentioned Geraldine Hire, whose initial gift jumpstarted the project. “We have made this room the Geraldine Hire Community Room,” said Doss. “I think she would be pleased; I hope she would.”
Doss also thanked state level supporters, including TN Secretary of State Tre Hargett, who was responsible for approving a large grant that the library received later on. She also mentioned State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representatives Kelly Keisling and Terri Lynn Weaver. She also thanked county commissioners, who voted to fund the final portion of the project—the roof.
She also mentioned by name Francis Darnell, George McCrary, the Meador family, Charles Sherrill, Ben Ballou, Roger Matchett, and Larry Clark, and she thanked library patrons for their patience throughout the construction process.
The building has been given a new roof and new parking area. The foyer has been extended, bathrooms renovated, and a community room, kitchenette, shipping/receiving room, office, and drive through drop box have been added. The entire interior has received a fresh coat of paint.
A sculpture by Linda Johnson, entitled ‘Ageless Word’, has been installed in the foyer in honor of library advocate Francis Darnell.
“When planning this,” said Doss, “we thought the best place for such an honor is right up there in the foyer. So we commissioned our artist to use her creative juices—which she has many of—to design something that would be appropriate and would make the children passing through the library just sort of gaze in wonder. And she has done that in spades; it’s a wonderful sculpture.”
Library Director Dana Richardson said that the new community room will now be used for many of the library’s old and newly added programs. In addition to the normal reading program that the library has hosted for some time, a Spanish-language reading program and Pre-K tutoring will be provided. Summer reading programs will be hosted in the community room. A new six-laptop study lab for students will soon be available, as well as a micro filing machine.
The library was closed to the public for several months during the final stages of construction, but is now open and ready to be viewed and enjoyed. The general public is invited to an open house on Thursday, May 1, from 4-7.