ADRIAN - After a six-month renovation project that required gutting the entire interior and starting anew, the Adrian branch library is ready to welcome readers and guests.
A grand reopening is planned at 11 a.m. Friday with brief remarks from Nobles County Commissioner Gene Metz and others, with the facility remaining open until 7 p.m. to welcome visitors who may be in town for the community’s annual Ribs & Rims celebration.
During the renovation, the branch library had temporarily been housed a couple of blocks to the north, in a building owned by New Vision Cooperative. The library’s last day at that site was July 3, leaving 10 days to move materials into the new, modern library facility.
Nobles County Library Director Clint Wolthuizen said while the renovation took a few weeks longer than initially anticipated, the results were worth the wait.
“This is really awesome and I think people are going to be thrilled - not only in Adrian, but on that side of the county,” Wolthuizen said. “I’m really excited.”
He is eager for people to see the finished library, which includes a children’s reading area, an online public access computer, coffee station and a charging table for people who want to use their own laptop or tablet - all features that didn’t exist before.
“What was considered the children’s area was a play castle,” Wolthuizen said, noting that the plastic castle became a fixture of the library over time. Now, the castle has been replaced with a reading castle on a platform, which provides seating for storytime.
With a more open setting, the renovated space not only offers a more inviting space for patrons, but will allow for expanded programs such as book club gatherings and other library events.
“It’s more accessible for modern technology,” Wolthuizen added. “It’s designed with the library user in mind.”
A handicap-accessible entrance and functioning restroom were also much-needed amenities for the space.
“I just love how bright and modern it is - I feel like it’s a very inviting place,” Wolthuizen said.
The branch library conducted a fundraising campaign to raise $80,000 for furnishings. As of this week, $84,000 has been received. The largest share of the funds were spent on shelving, some of which had to be customized to fit the space.
“We also spent it for the table the provides the plugins for the laptops and devices, comfortable seating and chairs for patrons and staff,” Wolthuizen said. “So many little features (in the library) are tied to that funding.”
The remaining funds raised will stay with the Adrian branch library.
“We’ve spent about $55,000 at this point from the funds raised,” Wolthuizen said. “The rest of the money will be used for continued collection development, programming and things to keep the library relevant and a good service for the community.
“It really sets that library up for a good future,” he added.
Throughout the whole process, Wolthuizen commended library staff and the volunteers who helped move books to the temporary location and then back into the renovated library.
“There’s been a lot of good teamwork,” he said. “I’ve been impressed by all of the people.
With the Adrian branch library renovation now complete, Wolthuizen is hopeful plans for a new Worthington library will come to fruition.
“When I came into Nobles County a little over two years ago, I saw two libraries that needed work, each in their own way,” he said, adding that the Adrian project has given him insight and experience into what defines a modern library.
“I am excited to show people what a modern facility can look like and how it functions and how that could work here,” he said. “It’s not going to be the same.”
Wolthuizen believes the team in place - from Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson to the county’s library staff - can work together to get a new facility built.
“This whole process has shown me we can do this - the time to do it is now,” he shared. “We can carry our knowledge and experience into this one.”