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By Calen McKinney

They keep coming. And coming.


A line forms of people holding stacks of books. As they wait, they take a moment to check out the new digs.

Taylor County Public Library officially opened its new building to the public last Wednesday morning. And staff members say they estimate that about 350 people came to check it out. Many checked out books and got library cards, while others came to take a peak at the new home.

Debbie Parson, adult services librarian, said patrons seem excited about the new building.

"Excellent. Positive comments," she said.

Some patrons were waiting in the parking lot for staff members to unlock the doors on Wednesday morning.

Parson said patrons have said they are surprised at how spacious the library is and have reminisced about their experiences at the building when it was Gabehart Lumber's home.

"They just can't believe that it looks like this now," she said.

Overall, Parson said, the new library is more than what staff members were hoping it would be.

"I think it's beyond what we thought, as employees."

The new library features a large meeting room, coffee bar, children's and young adult areas, magazines, genealogy room that doubles as a quiet zone, computers and much more.

The library was open last Monday and Tuesday, though that opening wasn't publicly announced.

On Monday and Tuesday, Parson said, library staff members issued a total of 259 new library cards. On Wednesday, 207 were issued. A hundred and twenty people got their cards on Thursday. A figure wasn't available for Friday at press time.

Parson said people seem excited that they now have actual library cards. The cards allow patrons to reserve and renew books online.

She said she believed those who don't use computers might be hesitant to learn they have to get a card with an identification number.

"[But] they're really excited," she said.

Parson said those using the library's public computer terminals must show a photo identification and their library card. To check out books, she said, a patron only needs their library card.

Parson said there weren't any major catastrophes during the library's opening, only that employees were very busy all last week.

"Our backs and feet hurt," she said. "There were no major snafus."

And Parson said those who had to wait in line to check out books were patient and understood that registering patrons for library cards takes a few minutes.

The new library encompasses much more room than its former home on South Columbia Avenue - 10,000 square feet as opposed to 7,000. And Parson said the new space has room for the library to expand its collection.

The library closed Jan. 19 to begin the move to its new location on East Broadway. Before it closed, library staff members encouraged patrons to check out as many as 25 books to help with the move. They were due Feb. 18.

However, Parson said, those who still have books checked out before the library closed won't have to pay any late fees. She said library staff members only ask for those books to be returned as soon as possible.

"As soon as they can get them back in the collection, that would be wonderful," she said.

Though the library is now open, there is a bit more work to be done before the building is completely finished.

Parson said the library's new book drop has been ordered and should arrive in about a month. The book drop used at the library's old location has been moved to its new building and can be used in the meantime, she said.

City workers will be doing some blacktopping around the new library's parking lot, so there is a slight drop between that area and the entrance to the library.

Parson said landscaping will be completed when warmer weather comes around. Workers are in the process of rewiring the library's sign that will be installed on a pole to the side of East Broadway. Other signage on the library building has already been installed.

The cost to transform the former Gabehart Lumber building into the new Taylor County Public Library cost about $1 million and Julia Turpin, library director, said the library hasn't had to borrow any money to pay the cost.

Though the new library is open, its former location won't sit idle for long.

Offices at the Team Taylor County building across the street will move into the former library building.

The former library space will also be used as Campbellsville City Council meeting chambers. The Team Taylor County building was sold to Campbellsville University for $205,000.

Library hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Taylor County Public Library Board will meet next on Monday, April 8, at noon at the new library. The meeting is open to the public.

The library will have a grand opening celebration in April, Parson said, though a date hasn't been finalized yet.

For more information and updates about the library's grand opening celebration, visit its website at www.taylorcountypubliclibrary.org.

Library hosts classes, special events

Taylor County Public Library has many events on its agenda, for adults and children of all ages.

A family movie night will be Tuesday, April 2, at 5 p.m. Popcorn and drinks will be served and "Wreck-It Ralph" will be screened.

On Monday, April 22, children can make robots out of recycled materials in celebration of Earth Day.

There are also several weekly programs for children.

On Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., the library hosts free Rhyme Time classes for babies to 2-year-olds.

On Wednesdays, kindergarten through fifth-grade students can attend story hour at 3:30 p.m. And on Fridays at 10:30 a.m., the library hosts story club for preschoolers.

All children's events in April will focus on weather.

For adults, local author Janna McMahan will read and sign copies of her new book, "Anonymity" at 6 p.m.

A class for those who want to learn about downloading e-books will be Saturday, April 27, at 10 a.m.

A digital photography class will be Tuesday, April 30, at 2 p.m.

Those who want to learn how to use a computer are in luck. The library will offer basic computer classes on April 16 and May 7 at 2 p.m.

For intermediate computer users, classes will be April 25 and May 23 at 2 p.m.

The library's Brown Bag Book Club will meet next on April 4 at noon. Book club members are currently reading "Before I Go To Sleep" by S.J. Watson.

Those attending can bring their lunch and discuss the book of the month. Drinks and dessert are provided.

To stay up to date about the library's special events and classes, visit www.taylorcountypubliclibrary.org.