By Associated Press - Monday, August 11, 2014

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - The Columbus Public Library has a new look for its books and other resources, thanks to more than $47,000 in renovations and repairs.

New e-readers have been added, as well as new furniture, solar shades, carpet and shelves. There’s new paint, too. The work also included relocating counter space, reorganizing sections, installing new front windows and replacing a section of the roof to prevent future leaks.

“The drapes were so old they were sun-rotted,” said library director Jill Owens. “I tried to wash some, but they fell apart. They were pretty gross. They gave the place an atmosphere of neglect.

“People associate worn-out decor with out-of-date resources and services. So the ‘80s mauve wallpaper had to go. It was peeling anyhow,” Owens told the Columbus Telegram ( ).

Nearly $34,000 of the cost was pledged by the Columbus Public Library Foundation and Friends of the Library. The remaining amount was covered by the city.

Kelli Keyes, customer service librarian, remembers drawing up plans more than a year ago.

“The choices I made were to reflect the new furniture,” Keyes said about the woodwork, counters and carpet color.

Not much was left untouched.

“We want more of a community center-type setting, not just a place that stores books,” Keyes said. “It looks so fresh and welcoming now.”

The reference area in the nonfiction section will be rearranged as an additional phase of the update.

Although city officials have lobbying for a new library, Keyes said, the work had to be done for maintenance reasons. A new library doesn’t seem likely in the next few years, she said.


Information from: Columbus Telegram,

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