Library nears renovation anniversary

SIDNEY — The Amos Memorial Public Library is nearing the end of its first year of operations in the new building that was completed last summer.

One of the biggest concerns that led to the expansion was the lack of available space for small and large groups.

According to Executive Director Suzanne Cline, the community room and the quiet study rooms have been used non-stop since resuming normal operations in the new facility. The small rooms have attracted such activities as focus groups, job placement interviews, quilting, knitting, training sessions, tutoring and testing. The community room is used for tax preparation, book clubs, state auditors meetings, young professionals, insurance training, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, Master Gardeners, large programs and movies.

“We have something going on nearly every day, and that just wasn’t possible before. We used to have just our own programs, but we can do other programs now, too,” she said. Interested groups of all sizes may reserve a room by contacting the library and coordinating the need with the space. Library programs will have first reservation priority, followed by non-profits, community organizations, and business training.

Door counts are up six to 10 percent this year, now that construction is complete and the library has become especially inviting. The art gallery features a monthly artist, and, currently, the calendar of exhibits is full through the end of the year.

The summer reading programs reflect increased interest. The use of computers, printers, and FAX services is steady, and the STEM lab will soon be available after the machines are set up and the staff is trained.

Since the library itself was the largest investor in the new building, contributing $2.5 million of its reserves to the upgrade, the trustees are in the process of establishing the means to rebuild funds for future needs. The Community Foundation of Shelby County, along with the Shelby County Libraries, can now accept tax deductible gifts in ways that were previously unavailable, now enabling the library to invest funds at competitive growth rates. These financial improvements are part of the strategic plan directed by the trustees and developed by the library staff, all committed to maximizing an operation and resources to match the new facility.

Once known as the repositories of knowledge, today’s libraries additionally have become the avenue of exploration for social, informational, and recreational purposes. Shelby County Libraries recognized the trend and made the necessary transformation to serve the people of Sidney and Shelby County.

“For a community this size to have a library like this is special,” Cline said. “I expect it to be rewarding for our community for many years to come.”