New library readies for opening

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In just a little more than three weeks, the new Cape Girardeau Public Library will have a grand opening with all the pomp and circumstance befitting such a state-of-the-art facility.

Already it is possible to see what the dreamers on the library board and library director Betty Martin envisioned when they asked for -- and received -- voters' approval of a property-tax increase in 2007 to pay for the expansion.

"Expansion" is technically correct, but the new library is much more. The old building was gutted, and wings were added on. The result is a facility that looks like it was built from scratch, with little evidence of where the "new" begins and the "old" leaves off.

Martin, who for years has shepherded the concept of a destination library that is much more than stacks of books and reading areas, thinks the new library will attract not just patrons whose taxes support the library, but also visitors who will see what a modern library has to offer.

To accommodate the renovations at the library construction site, all of the books, computers and furnishings had to be moved to temporary quarters that have served the community well. Now much of this will be moved back to the new library between May 3, when the temporary library will close, and May 16, when the new library opens with a fanfare. That will be a busy two weeks for the library staff, board members and the many volunteers who support the library.

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