The Lincoln Library Board and staff will be hosting an Open House at Lincoln Library on Saturday, October 23, 2021 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. The emphasis during the Open House will be on the completion of Phase One and appreciation for those who contributed and ushered the collected group of ideas, plans, thoughts, and suggestions through to reality.
Members of Delta Lodge #77 approached the Lincoln Library Board in 2019 with the proposition of selling the Mason building to Lincoln Library. The Board moved forward with the unexpected opportunity; the Mason building became part of Lincoln Library in August of that year.
Discussions began soon afterwards concerning issues that needed to be addressed. One of the most pressing concerns was the separation of children and adult computer users. With the progression of the conversations came the realization that the project was too large to focus on it in its entirety. It was decided to break the plan down into Phase One and Phase Two.
Phase One included all of the changes that were to take place in the present library space and the double doors that would lead into the former Mason building. Beyond those doors would be considered Phase Two.
Members of the Board and Expansion Committee invested hours of their time on the plans. A $2,500.00 Professional Services Grant from the South Central Kansas Library System (SCKLS) helped defray the costs of consulting with an architect. The Board applied for a matching $25,000.00 Libraries Transform Grant through SCKLS in September of 2020 and received word several weeks later that Lincoln Library was the recipient of the grant. After a number of disappointments and setbacks during the process, receiving the Libraries Transform Grant had an inspiring effect that made all of the possibilities seem much more reachable.
Everything began to fall into place in the early weeks of 2021. Lincoln Library put the job out for bids in March and on April 21st, the library metamorphosed into a construction site. Stevens Construction took on the project knowing that Phase One needed to be done by June 30th.
The library became a busy place as George and Alan Stevens brought the plans alive and Eck Services worked on all things electrical, including the after-hours challenge of the breaker box.
Stevens Construction and Eck Services were relentless, and by the end of May, most all of Phase One was complete. Even with the wait for the arrival of carpet and Formica, they still finished ahead of deadline. Staff and the summer reading program participants were able to enjoy the advantages that Phase One had to offer.
Adults and children now have separate computer areas, and both groups are happy with the results. They are brought back together at the Lego tables where all ages can enjoy creating. Before Covid-19 came to town, the Peoples Heartland Foundation Grant provided $500.00 that was added to by a generous personal donation from Mark and Connie Watts. These monies provided the funds for Lincoln Library to purchase board games for anyone and everyone to play. Because of Covid-19 and the remodel, the games, table and chairs, were not purchased until 2021.
Lincoln Library received a matching $2,420.00 General Technology Grant from SCKLS in April of 2021 to equip the adult computer lab and multipurpose room with computers once those rooms were completed. A $1,500.00 H.U.G.S Grant (Southern Pioneer Electric Company) provided funds to furnish the rooms with ergonomic chairs. The multipurpose room offers a higher level of privacy for tutoring, job coaching, proctoring, and video conferencing. Mamas with young babies will also find the room convenient and the rocking chair comfortable.
Children do not seem interested in venturing into the adult domain. Their areas are much more expansive, colorful, and to their liking. Lincoln Library received $750.00 from the State Library CARES Grant to purchase craft and bingo supplies. Bingo happens on Mondays and Thursdays and is a much-anticipated activity by many of the young patrons.
The changes Lincoln Library has experienced over the past two years have not always come easy. As with everyone, Covid-19 created additional difficulties at the library. The need to clean and quarantine books for a week was a time-consuming task. It was a sweet relief for the staff when a $4,300.00 Barber County CARES Grant paid for a book sterilizer. There have been other hurdles that have had to be cleared and a number of challenges that have had to be overcome on the path to the completion of Phase One.
The members of the Lincoln Library Board, Expansion Committee, and staff, are excited about the changes that have taken place and grateful for everyone who has been involved in the process. This Open House is an opportunity to enjoy light refreshments, tour the changes brought by Phase One, and hear how advantageous Phase Two will be for the community and surrounding area.