Library construction to begin next week

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SALYERSVILLE – As construction officially begins next week on the new library, it may be a bit daunting to visualize exactly what will be featured on the lot and what the extra space will mean to the community, so Magoffin County Public Library Director Melanie Cain sat down with the Independent earlier this year to highlight the key features of the upcoming public asset.

A far cry from the cramped and outdated building housing the library currently, the new two-story facility will have a combination of brick and stone exterior with modern-designed signage. Large windows will keep the space open, while featuring views of downtown Salyersville and the park. 

While currently library patrons must share a parking lot with several offices and programs, the new building will feature 23 parking spots, total, which includes two handicap spots. 

When entering the lower level through the automated doors, the public will have easy access to elevators and a focal point stairway. A television with library and community announcements will be noticeable from the entry way, and the public will have access to a vending area, restrooms and water fountains.

To the right of the entrance will be the Kentucky Room, which will house the genealogy records and serve as the Magoffin County Public Library Board’s meeting room. 

Also on the first floor are two conference rooms, separated by a retractable screen and can be used as one large meeting room. An asset that is indisputably needed for the community, the conference rooms will be accessible for non-profit organizations and groups to use after hours. Among other things, the conference rooms will showcase the reading programs, movie nights, teen programs, adult education, job fairs and computer classes for the community.

“This is such a needed space for the community,” Cain said. 

Another important feature of the new library will be the teen area. Serving a demographic of the community with few options, currently, this area will showcase two gaming stations, complete with wireless controllers that will be available for in-house checkout, six public computers, laptops (also available for in-house checkout), charging stations and book stacks. In conjunction with the close proximity to the park, Cain said she hopes the new building will be able to give the teens in the community a place to go and something to do. 

The plans include a bookmobile office, a service the board has been looking to reinstate for the community. Cain said with the expansion, she hopes they will be able to take a bookmobile out to underserved areas of the community, bringing library services to more of Magoffin County.

“Maybe they’re elderly and enjoy reading, but don’t have anyone to go get them books, or they live too far out to come to town often, this will help us serve more people in the community,” Cain said. 

On the second floor, there will be quiet study rooms, which can help with after-school tutoring and proctoring of tests. Cain said that the rooms will also be available for lawyers to use for depositions, something that is requested often, but the current building cannot accommodate.

A public computer area will be available upstairs, as well, with a total of 16 desktops library-wide and 20 laptops available for in-house checkout. 

Cain said she hopes to designate some computers strictly for employment needs, as well, expanding on their already-offered aid with job applications, resumes, and unemployment management.

A genealogy area, complete with a fireplace, will be set up on the second floor, featuring periodicals and magazines, as well as access to digitized microfilms. 

The library will feature a designated children’s area, with a couple of computers with educational games installed, children’s books and reading areas. The bookstacks for adult-level readers will be accessible on the other side of the children’s area, so parents will be able to look for books while also keeping an eye on their children. 

Probably one of the most unique features of the building will be the second-floor porch, or the Reading Veranda, which will overlook the park and include outdoor furniture and Wi-Fi hotspots. Patrons will be able to exit the building from the second floor, using the steps off the porch onto the parking lot, but the doors will be controlled entrances. 

While the library currently operates on a bare-bones staff, Cain said they hope to be able to allocate some of the budget to build on staffing so they will also be able to expand on the programs offered. 

For the staff, they will actually have a dedicated work room behind the circulation desk, giving the staff space to receive shipments, catalog books and prepare the books for the shelves. They will have breakrooms and a kitchenette, as well. The director’s office will sit above the entrance (windows facing the park) and will include more work space than currently available.

Throughout the building, the library will feature public Wi-Fi accessibility, reading lounge areas, tables with electrical and data ports, as well as free-standing electronic card catalog stations. With the expansion of space and services, Cain said they will be able to start offering audio books and electronic books for their patrons.

The added space will allow the library to offer more meet and greets with authors, as well as book signings and writing workshops. 

While the library already works with local students needing community service hours for college application, Cain said the new library will offer more opportunities for this. Students needing community service hours can call the library for more information. 

With the new library, they will undoubtedly be able to expand on services, Cain said they will also continue to offer faxing, emailing and scanning for the community, as well. 

Construction on the new library is considered a 12-month project, so the building will tentatively be open to the public by the summer of 2018.

A ceremonial groundbreaking will be held on Tuesday, July 11 at 5 p.m. at the construction site.