Gadsden Public Library makes further renovations and extends opening hours

The Gadsden Public Library has undergone renovations and changes in recent weeks. These changes will allow library staff to better serve the public with a variety of new services and projects.

The biggest physical changes to the library are renovations to The Hive, the teen section, and the Kids Zone.

The Teen Zone recently saw its section receive a main line of heating and cooling, as the floor was not originally designed with HVAC in mind.

“Originally, the fourth floor was supposed to be the attic and was not connected to the library’s heating and air system. We invested in an air conditioning and heating unit for $ 22,000, ”said manager Craig Scott. “This was installed by Modern Heating and Air Conditioning, and we used Ponder Electric to help light it up. Our public works guys put him in a closet, and he looks great.

Regarding the Kids Zone, Scott said a new play station has been added to attract older kids who don’t have as much to do in the area, but aren’t old enough to get into The Hive.

“The younger ones have a lot to do, like a puppet theater, a play kitchen and a train station. But the older ones, our 8, 9 and 10 years old, were bored. We had nothing to occupy them, ”said Scott. “These younger kids wanted to go to the fourth floor where all the games are, and the teens don’t want them up there, so we made the decision to invest in new gaming systems.”

Wide shot of the children's department, where a new game table and console are expected to be installed at the Gadsden public library.

The game system is currently a game table, where children can interact with a touchscreen and play multiple games within the system. Scott said there were plans to install a gaming console that would also allow access to other games.

The renovations cost $ 42,000, but they were funded by local and state grants, not the town of Gadsden.

“The library is a bit unique in that our main funder is the city, but we also get state funding through the state library,” Scott said. “On top of that, we also get county funds through the Etowah County Library Committee. This committee receives a portion of the hotel tax money and distributes it based on library size, but helps fund all libraries in Etowah County.

There has been a staff change in the children’s department, it is the process of a staff change. Formerly responsible for the region, Jillian Reeves has left for a new position in Birmingham and the library is looking to hire a successor. Scott said the position would be posted within a week to the community, other librarians across the state and the University of Alabama School for Library Sciences.

“She did a great job for us for about eight and a half years,” he said of Reeves. “So we’ll post it and hopefully in the next 10 to two weeks we’ll have some candidates for interview and hopefully someone will be hired. ”

The new game table located in the children's department of the Gadsden Public Library.  This is part of the new renovations coming to the library for this section.

The library has also started a partnership with Mental Health America, an agency funded by the United Way of Etowah County. This partnership allows Etowah County MHA Director Betty Willoughby to have her own office within the library and be there to help train librarians in mental health crisis management.

“We don’t discriminate; everyone is welcome through our door. And these people can give them trouble when they walk through the door, and we’ve had to deal with it like many libraries across the state, because we’re a safe haven, ”Scott said. “We are not qualified advisers so the MHA chapter here and we decided that the library would be a more central location for Willoughby and house him and everything that he does very well.”

Willoughby runs classes on Mondays and Tuesdays on topics such as parenting, anger management, and art therapy.

Customers in these and other areas can enjoy it much longer during the day thanks to the new extended hours of operation of the library. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The new hours were enacted on October 1 and allow the library to be open 48 hours a week.

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