The moment you walk through the automatic sliding plate-glass doors of the new main Greenup County Public Library you know it’s not your parents’ library.
The main collection is housed under the soaring rafters of a cathedral ceiling. Conference and community rooms have floor-to-ceiling window walls that bathe the rooms in natural light.
The genealogy department has mobile shelving units that maximize space usage for an ever-growing document collection.
Separate children’s and youth sections are set up with age-appropriate furniture, and collections are arranged so children can find what they want quickly.
“We’ve been so crowded, everybody loves the openness,” said Flatwoods branch librarian Sharon Haines, who was assisting director Dorothy Griffith on Monday when the new building opened to the public for the first time.
The new building provides room to stretch out, with about double the space in most departments. That makes it an ideal space for readers, said Connie Christian, a regular patron.
“It looks more open, brighter and inviting. It looks like a place I could sit, relax and read for a couple of hours,” said Christian. “It’s spacious. There’s a lot, lot, lot of room, all kinds of little nooks and crannies.”
The mobile shelving units in the genealogy section house, among other things, scores of notebooks containing individual family histories. The shelving units are mounted on rails so users can shuttle them back and forth to access the materials they need.
The most frequently used books are on open shelving, including the library’s prized cemetery records, and computers in the genealogy section are set up with appropriate shortcuts so researchers can get right to work, said volunteer Vicki Evans.
Separate children’s and young adult sections are new; in its former cramped quarters younger patrons had only small areas carved out of the main library.
The young adult section features high-top tables and stools that youths like. One new feature is the rearrangement of book collections, such as “American Girl” and “Goosebumps,” said children’s librarian Vicki Hughes. Children like series books and the new arrangement makes it easier for them to find other volumes in the series.
As in other sections, there is room on the shelves for more books. “Just having room to expand is thrilling,” Hughes said.
Staff have more room for behind-the-scenes tasks like cataloging books, and the bookmobile librarian has an enclosed bay for the vehicle and a lift to take books to it from the main floor.
Library hours remain as they have been, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Later this year, Monday and Thursday hours may be extended to 8 p.m., Griffith said. “We’ve had a lot of requests for evening hours,” she said.
A formal grand opening is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 8.
MIKE JAMES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2652.