By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
There is now considerably more space in the basement of Memorial Library.
Employees with the library, with a little help from the Shelby County Law Association, renovated the bottom floor of the building – all to create more room for computer users.
Library director Jill Pannkuk said the basement was originally home to a law library and genealogy books. She said workers from Shelby County moved out the law books, and library employees then knocked down a wall used to separate those books from the genealogy volumes.
“This room was originally the genealogy room,” she said referring to a portion of the basement. “We moved that upstairs. When we took that wall out, we recarpeted, painted and brought the computers down.”
Pannkuk said all but a few of the library’s public computers were moved downstairs.
“We left the children’s computers in the children’s area,” she said. “These were the young adults and the adult computers.”
Pannkuk said new shelves will be installed in the area vacated by the computers in the library’s upstairs floor.
“It’s going to take up that area we had the computers in in the first place,” she said.
The project started in early November and took about three weeks to finish. The library hosted an open house Monday, and Pannkuk said many people were unaware of the changes prior to Monday.
“We’re really happy with what we’ve done here,” she said.
Pannkuk said there are plans for some additional computers in the basement.
“That’s one of the reasons we wanted this nice large space was to add to our computers and also have some area for people to study down here,” she said. “A lot of times, they’ll just come down here to study.”
Also in the basement are microfilm readers and some genealogy records, but Pannkuk said most people come for the computers.
“It’s really nice and quiet down here,” she said. “There’s tables, and if they have their own laptop, they can bring that down here and also grab our laptops from upstairs and bring them down here.”
Pannkuk said there are hopes of adding at least three more computers by the end of 2011.
“That would probably have to come from a grant. I would have to write a grant,” she said.
Pannkuk estimated the room would contain approximately 25 computers when the project is completed.