With only weeks before the new Logan County Public Library is scheduled to open, the library administration held a meet-and-greet with some of our elected officials on Friday, Nov. 8, allowing a venue for them to share what the library means to them, and how valuable they feel it is to the public.
This was an informal event with coffee and donuts, and provided a time for the library’s users to share with these officials how the library has affected their lives.
Attending were State Representative Martha Jane King, State Senator Whitney Westerfield, County Judge/Executive Logan Chick, District Judge Sue Carol Browning, LEAD executive director Tom Harned and many library patrons.
King Simpson the library’s acting director, kicked off the gathering telling all those in attendance that the library had an open door policy, and that he and any of the staff were available to answer any questions or help in anyway. Simpson, who has taken over for Linda Kompanik, who passed away just weeks ago, welcomed the public officials that came out to share their stories and talk with the public.
Representative King commented about her experience as a child growing up in the Oakville community, and how excited she would get when the Book Mobile would travel to her small corner of the world offering adventures through the pages of Nancy Drew.
“The Logan County Library is so important to the children and adults of our community. The library offers so much and provides for many educational benefits, as well as enjoyment through reading. I support this library, and I know that if we didn’t have it, people would miss is more than they realize,” King said.
Education seemed to be the reoccurring theme at the meet-and-greet, with almost all who spoke agreeing that the library was a hub of educational opportunities. From books and newspapers to Internet access and program enhancement for all ages, the library is the place to be for everyone who wanted to learn.
Senator Westerfield noted that libraries played a very important role in the communities of Kentucky, and it was his pledge to assure there were enough resources set aside to support the institution. “We need to do everything we can to keep these libraries going,” said Westerfield.
For Rita Oliver, the Logan County Public Library became a sanctuary when she was growing up, as she came several days out of the week. Through a tearful testimony, Oliver, now 59, expressed at the meet-and-greet how very important the library still is to her, and how it helps her in the job she does working with inmates in the jails and prisons. She noted that one of the videos the library had gotten helped her teach a lesson, which in turn helped others.
“I used to walk to the library everyday when I was a foster child growing up down the street, and it meant so much to me to be able to come here. I just love the library and what is has to offer,” said Oliver, who teaches her grandchildren when they are old enough the importance of the library. “It is a wonderful resource the community has, and that I am very excited about the new one opening soon.”
According to Simpson, the new library, located on Armory Drive in Russellville, is expected to open the end of January or the first of February if all goes well. The new facility will have 14,503 square feet, which includes future expansion prospects up to 20,000 square feet if needed.
Some of the other things that will be offered by a new library include: easier access verses a small residential street, several more parking spaces, a streamlined design for modern library needs, increased early children resources (early literacy computers, etc.), a dedicated young adult area, an expanded genealogy space, a larger meeting room with audiovisual equipment, two small study/meeting rooms, an energy efficient system, an ADA compliant building, increased lavatory facilities, including children’s and family restrooms, and expansion capabilities.