Above is the newly constructed walkway between the library, left, and the former Big Brothers Big Sisters building, which the library plans to use as extra space for programs. Interim Director Paulina Poplawska said the full project is roughly halfway completed. L&T photo/Elly Grimm
By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The library’s expansion project is currently almost halfway completed.
The expansion includes the construction of a new annex/walkway to the former Big Brothers Big Sisters building, which the library foundation acquired in 2000 and has been in charge of since.
Construction on the walkway began in early May, when it was sectioned off, and the first opening was made into the new building. Earlier this week, workers made another opening into the library itself. Right now, frames are being built around the openings and doors are going to be put in. There are also two rooms that still need to be painted, and the flooring is being completely replaced.
The library plans to use the extra space to accomodate children’s programs as well as an extra meeting room that community groups could use.
“Right now, we use the Cooper-Clark Room, and it will just be nice to have an extra space to hold children’s programs, sometimes teen programs at the same time,” Paulina Poplawska, interim director at Liberal Memorial Library, said.
The construction project is under the supervision of Jonathan Knudsen and plans were finalized in April, according to Poplawska. The building was available at the time, and the opportunity presented itself for expansion, she explained, and the library board thought it was time to do it and expand the space for programming.
Poplawska also said discussion on what to do with the extra space took some time with the library board and was an ongoing process.
“The library board discussed it, and we looked at different things that we could do with the building. That was just something that came up. The library discussed it and we decided that, especially during the month of June,” Poplawska said. “Right now, we don’t have many meetings in our community room because there are a lot of sessions and things like that, and we usually have to see what’s in there. June is one of our busiest months, especially because of summer reading so we thought that would be a great way to use it.”
Poplawska said the project will be completed, hopefully, by the end of the summer. She and staff are excited for the project’s completion.
“I think it’s awesome,” Poplawska said. “I think it’s a space that will be used and used often. It’s exciting.”