by Lisa Tome
Christy Reynolds wants that wow factor.
She doesn't want anyone to see the inside of the Rising Sun Branch Library until the big reveal set for an as yet to be announced date in May.
"I think it looks like a new library in the old space. It looks wonderful," said Reynolds, manager of the branch. "We're still on schedule. But we haven't set the date yet. We're hoping to move back in May."
Since December 1, the branch has been downsized, operating out of just the community room. The project has long been in the planning stages before work got underway. The library opened in 1994. The area's population has grown as have the technology needs. The project will maximize the existing space through layout and technology improvements including more electrical outlets.
The branch's security system has been updated, a self check-out added, and the children's area will be expanded greatly.
During the upgrade, the branch has remained open with books, audiobooks, music, and movies available for check-out. Library services such as printing and copying, public computer access, and WiFi remained in place. Staff has worked in an office trailer located in the parking lot.
"Our usage did not drop during this time. And we only had 12 percent of our collection available. Our usage and circulation remained very good throughout this process," said Reynolds.
Reynolds said that community partnership played a key role in the branch being able to continue programs. Karen Peterman has been hosting programs at Rising Sun Middle.
Jen Carter led children's programs at Janes United Methodist Church and at the community center on Wilson Road. Adult programs held at Martin's Cafe have been so successful that they may be continued even after the branch is back to normal size.
"The community response and support made this a big success," said Reynolds. "We learned that just because it's a library program doesn't mean it has to be held at the library."
She also said that having only a portion of the collection available, gave staff new insight into what people are checking out. Reynolds said that DVDs, mysteries, and thrillers are very popular with those using the library. "We're really in tune with what went out and came back," said Reynolds.
Reynolds said that she has also been pleasantly surprised that no one complained about making do in the smaller space. "Everybody is so excited. There is so much excitement and eagerness about the new children's room and the tech space. Everyone has been positive. There have been no complaints. That has been really nice - the understanding and support of our patrons. The end result is improving our services. That's allowed everyone to stay positive," Reynolds said.