After a six-week renovation, the Denison Public Library opened its doors to the public last week, topping off the occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony with members of the community on Friday.

After a six-week renovation, the Denison Public Library opened its doors to the public last week, topping off the occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony with members of the community on Friday.


The $670,000 project, which was funded by private donations and city funding, has been "years in the making," said Library Director Alvin Bailey. When plans for a new library were deemed not feasible, attention turned to renovating the 1948 complex about two years ago. Bailey said that the building had last been renovated in the 1970s.


Bailey said renovation talks started with the need for new carpet, which was last changed in 1983. In a speech at the ribbon cutting, Bailey made reference to the children’s book "If You give a Mouse a Cookie" to describe how the need for new carpet led to the decision to put more work into the library.


"If you give a mouse a cookie, it is going to want a glass of milk," said Bailey. "If you move the furniture to remove the carpet, you aren’t going to just put that furniture right back, are you?"


As a part of the renovation, the library combined the service and checkout desk into one. Bailey said this was part of an attempt to modernize the library, bringing it in line with current trends and tastes. While a physical card catalogue was the standard in the 1970s, everything is computerized now, and the furniture and decor should reflect that, said Bailey.


This modern movement continues into the new computer stations that were developed for the library. Named after the former president, the Eisenhower desks were designed to allow groups to crowd around a computer terminal for group projects. Bailey said he had nicknamed them "propellers" because of their distinctive shape, but some people have disagreed.


"Someone even called it a splat," said Bailey.


With the extra space taken up by the computer stations, Bailey said that the library had to make some sacrifices. Bailey said that the library reduced its collection from 90,000 to 70,000 items. Many items that were removed from the library’s collection have since been donated to other libraries throughout the region, said Bailey.


The library was also able to create a children’s room, bringing children’s programs out of the community room, which is always in high demand, said Bailey.


The renovations also included new furniture and some shelving throughout the library. The front bathrooms were also renovated, bringing them into ADA compliance, while an additional bathroom was added on the main level.


While the inside of the library is finished, Bailey said that there was still a lot of work left before the entire project is completed.


"We’ve got miles to go before we sleep," said Bailey.


The library is working on plans to install a new self-checkout system, while new landscaping and signage will be added to the exterior of the building. Library staff were busy unloading boxes throughout the week.


At the ribbon cutting, Denison Mayor Jared lauded the entire project. "What has transcended in this room is phenomenal," said Johnson.


Bailey was is agreement, but preferred to let someone else do the talking: "I think the building speaks for itself."