I made time this morning for my first tour of the new Library. Impressed is an understatement, it is beautiful! I saw 20 computer stations open, where the older library had had a waiting list. Lots of people using the terminals, but open ones too.
The Law Library on 2nd floor has two Westlaw terminals!
One carryover from the Ed Keyes Library; the new one still has the slowest elevators in Western Civilization. Upside of that I rode down with a kid, 12-14, he was bubbling over with excitement. Big advantage of the space available, kids have their own section downstairs, and it is a dream come true. The little reading cubbyholes are great. I remember my favorite reading space was the shelf of a bay window, curl up with a good book and the world goes away.
At my age, a Library is a research resource, and that is a good thing. For our youngsters, a Library is a window to the world. That is an investment in our future to be treasured.
One thing I would like to see is prominent recognition of Ralph Hoelscher's part in making this happen. The Stephens deserve the name, a huge contribution from them. My point is, Ralph brought City Council and County Commissioners together for a rare joint meeting and made the old building available. From there, the effort involved hundreds, really thousands of generous people, and they all rate a big "attaboy", but until Ralph kick-started it, the Hemphill-Wells Building was just a hole in the downtown landscape.
I leave the quibbling over windows and bricks to others. My opinion, this will be the jewel in the crown of downtown rebuilding, and the taxpayer portion is nearly zero. It doesn't get better than this.