from The Evening News & Tribune
Story by Brooke McAfee | Photo by Tyler Stewart
CLARKSVILLE — After months of renovation and construction, the transformation of Clarksville’s library is complete.
The Clarksville branch of the Jeffersonville Township Public Library, at 1312 Eastern Blvd., held a ribbon cutting Thursday to celebrate the recent completion of its $1.8 million expansion and renovation project. After 10 months of work, the library added 1,700 square feet to the building, and the entire space was renovated.
The library’s expansion allowed for the addition of a large meeting room and three new private study rooms. Before, the library faced competition for its limited meeting space, according to Jeffersonville Township Public Library Director Libby Pollard, but now the library has three meeting rooms available to the community, allowing for the accommodation of more outside groups.
The Clarksville Redevelopment Commission donated $75,000 to the library, allowing the branch to add 10 laptops for a mobile lab, 12 additional public computers for adults, teens and children and new self checkout kiosks. The renovations also included new furniture, doors, ceiling tiles and interior decorating.
The community has the opportunity to meet in a beautiful public setting, Pollard said.
“I believe that attractive public spaces are really important,” she said. “They’re uplifting to people, and I’m very proud of the fact that the Clarksville branch meets that criteria of a nice public space.”
The addition of the 10 laptops will allow the library to present free technology classes in its meeting rooms, including classes on Microsoft Office and social media, Pollard said.
The self-check kiosks are “easier than the ones at the grocery,” she said, and it allows people to checkout five books at the same time rather than scanning each individually. This helps speed up the checkout process, and it allows people to checkout books privately if they prefer.
The private study rooms will help people who are at the library for purposes such as tutoring, Pollard said. If groups need to have conversations while studying, the rooms will allow them to collaborate without disturbing other people in the library.
The Duke Energy Foundation also donated $15,000 for the creation of a rain garden at the library. The garden gathers stormwater runoff from the building’s roof, and it includes a variety of native plants.
“We want the rain garden to serve as an educational resource, teaching adults and children about the importance of planning for stormwater runoff, how rain gardens help minimize water pollution, how pollination is essential for food production and the important role that native plants have in pollination,” Pollard said.
Kofi Darku, library board of trustees president, said the changes help Clarksville improve its quality of place and meet the needs of the community.
“The Clarksville library branch project supports the library’s mission to identify and meet the informational, entertainment and technological needs of our community, which fosters lifelong learning and informed citizenship in a welcoming environment,” he said.
The library’s expansion ensures that the community has access to the tools they need, Darku said. He emphasized the role of the library’s resources play in workforce development, including technology and adult education/GED classes.
“If you can leverage this space and the tools they have available, from the workforce development perspective, individuals can skill themselves up,” he said. “They can do a better job of searching for the opportunities that may be of interest to them, and they can also find resources that help them improve their skills for those opportunities.”
Clarksville Redevelopment Director Dylan Fisher said he is happy to see a new vision of the library, including the new technology to connect people with modern learning techniques.
“I can recall as a child coming to this location,” he said. “As I walk back in here today, it’s just a breath of fresh air.”
Now that the Clarksville branch is complete, the Jeffersonville Township Public Library has started renovations of its main branch. Its renovations will include expanded technology, self checkout kiosks, more activity space and a maker space.