POMEROY — In the midst of graduation ceremonies, alumni activities, youth league games and fundraisers, the renovations on the Pomeroy Library were completed and an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate.
The well-attended celebration gave residents of Meigs County the opportunity to tour the newly completed facility with live music playing in the background.
Kristi L. Eblin, director of the Meigs County District Public Library, thanked everyone for their patience with the remodeling project, including staff and patrons.
“The working conditions you have been subject to over the last nine months have not been ideal, but the complaints have been few,” Eblin said of the staff. “Your work space has been moved more times than I can count, but you have handled this upheaval with a positive attitude. I often hear from members of the community about how the library is such a welcoming place and that the staff is so friendly and helpful. I can attest to that fact; you all are amazing.”
She went on to thank the patrons and said, “We hope it was worth the wait.”
Eblin also praised those involved in the 2016 Pomeroy Library Renovation Project, from the architects who designed the project to contractors who saw the remodeling through to its completion.
“We thank you for the pride you took in a job well done,” she said. “I know it was difficult to work around our patrons and staff at times, while the facilities remained open (referring to the contractors), but your professionalism and concern for our mission are greatly appreciated. You will be missed.”
Eblin gave some background into the role of the board of trustees in this project. She explained that in 2011, with the assistance of a facilitator from the State Library of Ohio, a committee of several members of the community, library board members and staff worked to develop a strategic plan for library service in Meigs County.
The library system in the county was still in recovery mode from devastating funding cuts in 2009, but due to the efforts of the board of trustees, whom she described as “a very fiscally conservative and responsible group,” the libraries survived.
Measures were taken to reduce hours of operation and staff positions, while use of the facility continued and demand for services increased. Despite the tight budget, the board of trustees continued to make a transfer into the building fund as they had done for over 22 years, saving money to improve the facilities when the time was conducive.
Without a stable source of operating revenue, the board felt it would not be responsible to build bigger buildings, so it wasn’t until the first-ever operating levy for library service in Meigs County was passed in March 2012 that expansion of the library was considered viable.
Now with a stable source of operating revenue for at least the next several years, the board reviewed the progress on the strategic plan in July 2013 and felt that expected outcomes, with the exception of those that related to facilities, had been met. A building committee was then formed to oversee plans for the renovation and addition to the Pomeroy Library.
“The library you see today is a result of the efforts of all of those people over all of those years,” Eblin said. “It is the legacy of our library board of trustees.”
Now that the Pomeroy Library renovations are completed, the staff is reaching out to the community to encourage residents to take advantage of the new facility and the programs it offers. With additional space, they are able to provide more events and resources than before.
The well-designed children’s area allows space for numerous activities year-round.
Eblin said it was her desire for every citizen of Meigs County to know what is available to them in the new building.
“When you leave the library, pass the word along to neighbors, family and friends. Tell them about this wonderful facility which is so close to home,” she said. “It’s your library. May it always help to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of you and your children.”
Reach Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155, Ext. 2551