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Renovated Cape Girardeau library dedicated in ceremony

Sunday, May 17, 2009

People explore the new Cape Girardeau Public Library after Saturday's ribbon-cutting ceremony.
(Elizabeth Dodd)
After seven years of planning, 18 months of construction and $9 million of public and private funding, the Cape Girardeau Public Library on Clark Avenue is bigger and better than ever. On Saturday afternoon, the 39,000-square-foot "destination library" was opened to the public.

"What a great day for Cape Girardeau," library director Betty Martin told the 200-plus people who gathered in the Hirsch Community Room for Saturday's dedication ceremony. "Fifteen years ago, when I first filled out my application to work at the library, I never thought I'd one day be the director standing here helping to dedicate such a facility," she said.

The new library has two community rooms that, when they are not partitioned, can seat up to 200 people and are suitable for hosting an assortment of presentations. There is a conference room, a genealogy room, a cafe, a computer lab, two study rooms, an area for teens to read and play video games, and an area for smaller children complete with a puppet theater. Patrons can return material through an indoor slot that sorts it out on the other side; those in a rush can use a drive-through window.

"When we say 'destination library,' we're talking about a place where you do so much more than just check out books," said Sarah Nussbaum, president of the Cape Girardeau Public Library Board. "We want people to hang out for a while and explore, use what we have."

"Libraries have changed quite a bit," Martin said. "Now they are community centers with specialized areas and something for everyone."

Architect Lowell Berg told those at the ceremony that the Mississippi River "was essential in our design." The library's wall and floor designs are meant to evoke the spirit of moving water.

"Even the carpet has movement as it resembles the sun's reflection off the Mississippi," he said.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Jerry Ford Combo performed and members of the Friends of the Cape Girardeau Public Library Foundation guided patrons on informal tours while children got acquainted with Mark Twain, portrayed by Lester Goodin.

The new library was funded by a tax increase approved by voters in 2007 along with donations from the Hirsch Foundation, the Kirby Trust, Praxair Foundation, Union Pacific and numerous other groups.

"In times of gloom and doom, this is good news," Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson said. "Dedicating this wonderful library is the type of thing that defines Cape Girardeau and separates us from other communities. There was no money in the city budget for this or parks projects. These exist because of resident support, and the citizens will reap the rewards."

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This is NOT a renovation! It's a new building ADDED onto what was the partial skeleton of the original building. Jeebus, I'm glad you did it and I voted FOR it, but call a spade a spade will you?

"Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson said. "Dedicating this wonderful library is the type of thing that defines Cape Girardeau and separates us from other communities. There was no money in the city budget for this or parks projects. These exist because of resident support, and the citizens will reap the rewards."

Not exactly Mr. Mayor.

"The new library was funded by a tax increase approved by voters in 2007"

-- Posted by Megalomania on Sun, May 17, 2009, at 12:28 AM

I agree this is not a new building. 18 months of construction?????? Are you serious?? 18 months to build a 1 story building that wasn't even fully torn down from the previous establishment. I tell you Union Workers must of have been working on this. Come in work an hour, take 2 off, then come back and work 1 more hour and call it a day. Its raining outside, well we need 3 days off. I use to live in Texas and the workers down there could put up anywhere from 30-40 houses in 18 months of work on a street. Get rid of Union Workers, all they want is more money, more breaks, and end up completing a project that will need renovations in 6 months.

-- Posted by semostudent08 on Sun, May 17, 2009, at 12:04 PM

Well, "semostudent08" your showing your ignorance & obviously didn't learn much @ SEMO. You know nothing about UNIONS w/the rude remarks you've made. You sound like a jealous "SCAB" to me. That's a non union worker, just in case you didn't know. I'm gonna educate you for a minute, since you obviously need it. My husband is a Journeyman Union Carpenter & does Commercial work. He is currently working @ SEMO on ALL the building their doing there. The new dorms by the corner of Henderson & Broadway, the new Autisim Center, the entire River Campus was also done by UNION CARPENTERS. You really need to know what your talking about before you critisize. Keifner Bros. Inc & Penzel Contruction are fabulous companys that are Union & have been the General Contractors on MOST jobs that's gone on @ SEMO for the past few yr's. Not to mention the hospitals, Schools, etc... By the way, UNION CARPENTERS DO NOT JUST WORK A LITTLE & STOP. That comment is actually what made me comment back. They work their buts off till quitting time. They start @ 7:00am sharp, take a 15min break at 9:30, lunch @ noon, & dont quit till 3:30pm. The Union workers working @ SEMO have actually been working over 40hr's a week (Saturdays & some 10hr days) to get the job done in a timely fashion. I cant speak for EVERY union company but the local unions in this area are great. By the way, if your soo worried about how much money this took or whatever, then you might wanna realize that EVERYTHING UNIONS buy, use, do, etc...IS ALL AMERICAN MADE! MORE PEOPLE NEED TO USE UNIONS instead of all these independent contractors who will screw you, & only work when they want. Unions do GREAT QUALITY work. The only time unions dont work because of weather is when concreate is needing to be poured & it's too cold or raining that day. Your comment doesn't even make sense, about taking off for rain. There's alot of INSIDE WORK, like putting in metal studs, hanging drywall, mudding & tapeing it, putting in ceilings, etc..! Union companys are class trained skilled carpenters that know how to do the job to perfection! Unlike the people out there who wont go union because they cant pass a drug test. I guess that's who you wanted working on our new library, right! I'm guessing your a republican w/the "we're screwed 08" logo you have. HTat explains it. Go back to Texas!

-- Posted by deesalt on Sun, May 17, 2009, at 2:53 PM

If you think that UNIONS really screw around on the job & dont work like they should. Just go talk to a BA @ any local Union hall. Carpenters Union Local 1770, the Labors Union, etc.. They will gladly tell you that IF they dont work & do what their supposed to then they'll be kicked out. That means the BENEFITS are gone! The benefits are usually WHY people go Union. W/the job market as bad as it is right now, you might wanna go union. The health insurance is free. Even for our family of 4, nothing comes out of my husbands pay check. THAT'S RIGHT, NOTHING! We pay a $20 co-pay for Dr visits, $40 for specialists visits, $100 for ER visit, & $150 for hospitalization (no matter how long your in there). The prescription plan is great also. Not to mention that after you've put in 20yr's you can retire. My husband started @ 18 & is 24 now & has quite a bit in retirement ALREADY. He also makes anywhere from $22 an hour to $32 (depending on where their working). By the way, they regularly drug test EVERY SINGLE UNION MEMBER. They have a card they have to carry w/them @ all times that shows when they've been tested. Rinky dink local companys dont do that. That's why they cant find good help or do quality work. I'm not knocking them all. 1 of our best friends was a Union Carpenter w/my husband & quit to start his own concrete business a few yr's ago. He's been very successful at it BUT says constantly how he cant find decent workers! Go figure!

-- Posted by deesalt on Sun, May 17, 2009, at 3:10 PM

I think they got the message, good job deesalt.

-- Posted by Centraloptimist on Fri, May 22, 2009, at 11:52 AM

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