ASHLAND — The Southern Boone County Public Library in Ashland has come a long way since its beginnings in a bookmobile the size of a bread truck.
Those who want to participate in a book brigade to move books from the old Southern Boone County Library to the new one should gather at 9:30 a.m. at the old library on Broadway. The book brigade will begin at 10 a.m., and a ribbon cutting for the new library will begin at 11 a.m.
"The bookmobile became so popular, people would line up just to get on," library manager Karen Neely said. "Since then, circulation has been increasing, and the use has just really skyrocketed."
The library relocated from the bookmobile to a 3,335-square-foot space on Broadway in 2000, and now it is set to expand again. About 20 employees of the Daniel Boone Regional Library began transporting nearly 15,000 books Wednesday to the new Main Street location. The move will finish with a symbolic book brigade Saturday.
"Everyone is going to gather at the old library, and then we’re going to form a line, passing the books to the new library," said Associate Director Elinor Barrett. "After, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce."
The population of Ashland has grown 98.6 percent in the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Census. Daniel Boone Regional Library Director Melissa Carr said increased library activity reflects that growth.
"Between 2010 and 2011, we saw a 19 percent increase in people borrowing material from the library," she said. "Knowing that we had seen steady, significant growth in use of this facility, part of our strategic planning was to increase the size of the facility in this area."
Neely said the new library, which is nearly double the size of the existing one, will accommodate Ashland's increasing population with room to grow. The new location will have eight public access computers and two children's computers, double what the current facility houses. It also will have a community meeting room for public gatherings and library programming.
"We were able to add a programming space that will allow us to do events like story times," Carr said. "Right now, story times are done in the middle of the children’s area, so now we’ll be able to do programs in a space that isn't in the middle of where people are checking out books."
The new building has more furniture, most of which was manufactured in Missouri. Neely said the goal is to have more room for people of all ages to spend time at the library.
"I think that’s going to be fun: to see the younger children and the teens and the adults have their own places to sit," she said. "We didn’t have a lot of seating places in the current building. It’s always been seen as a community space — and now we actually have space for our community."
Even though Ashland is growing, the library community remains tightknit.
"Being part of a smaller community, we have the pleasure of really getting to know our patrons," Neely said. "That’s what is really special for me about working here. When someone comes to the door, the staff already knows who they are, pulls their holds for them and has them ready."
Tim Dollens, who was supervisor of the Southern Boone County Public Library for 10 years, said being able to build facilities has allowed them to cater to customers' needs.
“Going from bookmobile 23 years ago to the existing location to the new location has been very exciting," he said. "It’s very cool to see the transformation and growth of this community.”
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