Though delayed, the community room project at the Meade County Public Library is still underway, and President of the Meade County Public Library Board of Trustees, Ron Barger, says it will offer benefits for both the library and the community in general.
Conversations about a community room addition began approximately five years ago. Programs were beginning to grow, and the Board began talking about what they could do in the future.
“We needed more room for programming, that was the main genesis of the whole thing,” said Barger.
The year before last, the city offered the property around the library to the library. They accepted that property, and that gave them room to expand.
Dirt started moving in November. The original schedule projected that they would be in the end phase by April of this year. However, they didn’t get approval from the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction until Nov. 13, which delayed the project. Now, the project is expected to be completed in August or September of this year.
In addition to much needed space for programming, the addition will also offer space for nonprofit organizations to host meetings. More parking will also be available for visitors. The community room will have a kitchen for cooking classes. The expansion will also provide a bigger garage for the bookmobile and create more much-needed storage space. Finally, the project also includes a walking path around the library.
Barger says the cost of the project comes in at around $2.7 million.
He says that libraries aren’t just books anymore. With their programming growth, he believes the expansion was desperately needed. They also provide internet service to many individuals that, otherwise, wouldn’t have access. To Barger, the library serves as a sort of community center for the area, and a good library may convince more businesses to locate in the area.
“I think a library like ours makes the community more inviting for businesses,” said Barger. “Everybody needs to be life learners, and we give them that opportunity.”