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Morning Sun
  • Arma library undergoes renovation

  • The Arma Public Library is undergoing a major renovation project that director Brenda Banks thinks will make it a true hub for the city’s residents.

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  • The Arma Public Library is undergoing a major renovation project that director Brenda Banks thinks will make it a true hub for the city’s residents.
    The Arma City Council approved the renovations to the library, which is located downtown in the city’s community center, in July. This week city laborers knocked down the wall that divided the community center from the library, and are adding new rooms for games, computers with internet access, movies and a small conference center. They were able to “repurpose” all of the old windows and doors into new features such as the media check-out desk.
    The work effectively doubles the size of the library — which had seen increased use over the past year and which was bursting at the seams with books, magazines and videos — from around 1,100 square feet to 2,300 square feet.
    “We just didn’t have enough room,” Banks said.
    Banks is able to purchase new furnishings with a $6,000 grant, and new book cases could be built by Pittsburg State University wood technology students — they made the library’s current book cases. The renovation work is being done by city workers, which Banks said will save thousands of dollars.
    Banks said she plans to grow the number of books and other media items in the future.
    “Now we have the space for more books,” she said.
    Additionally, the library recently joined a consortium of 31 public libraries around southeast Kansas — the Southeast Kansas Learning System — a move Banks said helped increase the library’s patronage. Banks also signed the library on to an online integrated library system, the Seek and Find Consortium, which gives the libraries and their patrons access to each others’ holdings, and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday a courier transports books and other media from library to library. That means, Banks said with an excited gleam in her eye, that users now will have access to more than 500,000 library items.
    Library patrons such as Linda O’Brien, whom Banks said is the library’s best customer, are equally excited.
    “More books! More books! Yes!” O’Brien said as she checked out several books Wednesday morning. “I love books because it’s like going to a movie. You get to transport yourself somewhere else, only I’m better at the written word.”
    Other Arma residents filtered in and out of the library, even though it was closed for renovations, most of the day to check out movies or use the fax machine. Banks hopes that will continue when the library reopens.
    “The library will now act as a gathering place,” Banks said. “We’re really excited.”
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