New Chapel Hill library hosts dedication ceremony

Apr. 19, 2013 @ 08:36 PM

The town’s library officially reopened last week, and thousands of patrons have already gone through its doors.

But Saturday, the town and eager patrons will take time out to officially celebrate the completion of the expansion project, which has been more than a decade in the making.

A dedication ceremony will be held today beginning at 11:30 a.m., to officially christen the new $16.23 million library project.

The ceremony will include performances by the Phillips Middle School Choir, the Sacrificial Poets, Stickley-Hill and Mark Daniel, magical storyteller.

Built with bonds voters approved in 2003, the library expansion more than doubles the size of the original facility, adding 35,000 square feet.

Improvements include a new 5,500 square foot meeting room complex, two conference rooms and an adjoining 1,500 square foot concrete patio.

And there is much for the town’s children to like about the newly renovated library too, including a larger, 10,000 square foot Youth Services Library with child friendly furniture and a wall of windows overlooking Pritchard Park to allow natural light to lend to the “Enchanted Forest” theme found throughout the Children’s Room.

There’s also something new for teens.

The new 1,500 square foot Teen Room houses the library’s young adult collection in one area, and provides teens with four new computers, a flat screen television, study tables and comfortable chairs.

A new digital media lab provides in-house equipment and software to enable patrons to create and share digital content for personal, academic and professional use.

Computers, printers, scanners, cameras, microphones and editing software are available for individual or small group use.

Also, the Mobile Computer Lab, a collection of 24 laptop computers in mobile carts, will expand access to computer skills classes and is available for use in any of the Library's meeting rooms.

While the library has reopened to much applause, its new hours have gotten thumbs down from some patrons who complain that reduced operating hours make it tough for people who work day jobs to use the facility.

As a cost-cutting strategy, the library is only open eight hours on the weekend, from 1 to 5 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday.

“Please consider the number of townspeople affected, especially those of school age and those with 9-5 jobs who need library services at the very times the library is now closed,” Lee Mayfield wrote in an email to the Town Council last week.

At the heart of the issue is a decision by the council to not approve funding for additional library staff in spite of the fact that the library has more than doubled in size.

The council has opted to consider money for additional library staff as part of its larger budget discussion for fiscal year 2013-14.

If the council approves such funding, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said the library could begin to immediately hire new staff.

 

Go and Do

 

The library dedication will begin at 11:30 a.m., at the Chapel Hill Library in Pritchard Park.

For information and to download an invitation, go to www.ci.chapel-hill.nc.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=18417