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It doesn’t seem possible but the Marion County Public Library is celebrating its 87th year of service to the county. Thanks to the driving force of the Lebanon-Marion County Women’s Club in 1923, our community has had access to books and ample learning opportunities. While the location hasn’t stayed the same, the original building was located down the street from the current address, the dedication and service hasn’t wavered.
In 1966, the library became affiliated with the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort after the community backed the future of the library by passing a tax by petition. In 1969, the library received an American Authorization Grant from the state to finance a new building, which put it at 201 East Main where it still stands today. In 1993, the size of the building was nearly doubled with a bequest by Dorothy Thomas Cullen and Margaret Lindsey Creech, the daughters of the late Judge R. Thomas. The Lebanon City Council and Marion County Fiscal Court each contributed and the state matched local funding to create the renovated building in Nov. 1993. That was 17 years ago come this November.
Since that time the library has grown its collection, expanded its programming and has seen a great deal of foot traffic come in and out of its doors. While we’ve kept on changing with the times, updating our technologies and services to keep our community on top of the changing trends, little has changed cosmetically about the building with the exception of a few seating areas due to receiving grants in 2005 and 2007. Needless to say, 17 years can put a toll on a space, more specifically, on the carpeting.
Many of you that frequent the library may have noticed and maybe even commented on the wear of our carpeting. Seventeen years of use has left us looking dingy despite carpet cleanings. In some cases, the carpeting is becoming a tripping hazard. That said, the Board of Trustees has made the decision that it’s time to get our building looking as bright as the services we offer.
This December, the library will begin the job of replacing our current carpeting. As you may have guessed, this will be a process. Our carpet supplier has kindly offered to help us keep the carpet replacement at the minimal amount of disruption to our patrons as possible. They’ll be working to replace the carpet first that won’t be in the direct pathway of those needing to utilize our services. Despite that however the need will arise for us to close the library for several days to allow us to move the book collection and shelving so that carpeting can be placed in those areas. It’ll be no easy task to move then re-shelve a collection of more than 50,000 books, furniture and more.
The library will close on Monday, Jan. 10, and will be ready to re-open, with our spiffed up new look, on Tuesday Jan. 18. We’ll be looking good and ready for lots of library company during the winter reading season!
We want to thank the community in advance for its understanding during this process. We hope that you too are as excited as we are to get our building looking up to the standards of the awesome community that it serves. Because it’s your library as well we’re even asking that you help us out a bit during the process. No we’re not asking you to help us re-arrange the shelving! However, we would like to ask you to check out books, as many as your card will allow, in fact.
If you have a library card, in good standing with no overdue items or outstanding fines, we’re asking that the weeks before our closing you stop in and check out the 15 maximum items that your card will allow. The more books we get checked out the fewer we’ll have to move from one location to the other. You and those in your home will become tiny branches of the library in a way! This may seem an odd request but we’ve seen this work during the renovation and building process of some of our sister libraries in the state.
Another thing to keep in mind about December is our “Food For Fines” fine forgiveness program. If you have overdue items and you’ve put off returning them for fear of hefty fines now is the time to stop in. Just return your items and bring in one can of food per one dollar of your fine. Likewise, if you have a fine on your name and no items out just stop in at the desk with your food item and those fines will be deleted as well. The only instance that this doesn’t cover is when someone has lost or damaged an item that they need to replace. All food collected will go towards helping a local food pantry that serves those in need in our community.
Thank each of you again for you help and understanding with this mini renovation. We look forward to enjoying the fresh looking space with all of you! As always from the library family to yours, happy holidays and happy reading!