DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — One of the first things people notice when they walk in the Marble Falls Public Library since its renovation this past summer is how much larger it is.
“We hear, ‘You’ve added on,’ quite a bit,” said Mary Jackson, the library’s director.
The renovation didn’t include any additional square footage, but by removing a couple of bookshelves and opening up the middle a bit, one does get the feeling the library is larger.
The Friends of the Marble Falls Public Library anted up $185,000 for the major remodel. On top of that, the Tocker Foundation provided another $50,000 for new furniture. Now, the library staff and Friends group are inviting the public for an open house Dec. 6 to celebrate the improvements.
“(The remodel) all started by a crack in the foundation,” Jackson said. After the repair, the library needed to replace the carpet. But as library officials and Friends members pondered that, they came to the conclusion the time was right for a major facelift for the 17-year-old building.
The renovation included many aesthetic changes, such as new carpet and furniture, but it also ushered in an era of digital and technological upgrades. Jackson pointed out the electrical outlets and Internet connections located throughout the structure.
“Basically, people can plug in just about anywhere in the library and use their electronic devices,” she said. Along the back wall, people can set up on the Internet bar.
The library also added a new and improved electronic card catalogue. Patrons will find the electronic version in several places throughout the library, so they don’t have to leave the stacks for a central catalogue. And the touch-screen monitor puts looking for a book or a publication, well, right at their finger tips.
While the heart of the library remains the physical books, Jackson said she and staff also know patrons are more interested in digital materials, whether it’s e-books or audio downloads. The new electronic infrastructure makes it easier for people to access those materials and allows the library to offer more options in the future.
“E-services are beginning to be the thing,” Jackson said. “So we needed to lessen the footprint of the books and make things more useable for electronic services. You have to keep up with the demand, and the public is demanding more of those types of things.”
Even cell phones, once the scourge of libraries everywhere, are finding acceptance. But, Jackson pointed out, only if people use them in a quiet voice and manner.
Folks who might not know about all the e-services available at the library can learn about them during the open house. The program begins at 4 p.m. at the library, 101 South Main St., with an introduction of many of the people who helped make the project happen. After that, Jackson said, library staff will give tours and instructions on some of the new technology.
Jackson said the renovations and improvements wouldn’t have happened without the support of the Friends, library donors, the Tockers Foundation and patrons of the Library Thrift Store.
“It’s all paid for,” she noted. “People have been extremely complimentary of the change.”
Call (830) 693-3023 or go to www.marblelibrary.org for more information.