Johnson City Library receives grant for new community room

STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

The floor plan of the Johnson City Library showing what will be the Community Education Room and a smaller computer lab. Illustration courtesy of the Johnson City Library

The floor plan of the Johnson City Library showing what will be the Community Education Room and a smaller computer lab. Illustration courtesy of the Johnson City Library

Johnson City librarian Maggie Goodman nervously opened a letter from the Ladd and Katherine Hancher Library Foundation. She read over the note then broke into her happy dance.

The letter notified the library it was a grant recipient. Also inside the envelope was a $26,500 check: the exact amount needed to transform the library’s current personal computer room into two rooms more in line with the community’s needs.

“I was halfway expecting a rejection notice or an email saying the checks would be distributed two months later,” she said. “I’ve never just opened the envelope and there was a check. It was jump-up-and-down day.”

Now comes the work.

With the funding, the library will create the Community Education Room as well as a smaller computer room out of the existing space.

The new community room will serve a wide variety of functions, including as a meeting room and a creative space for kids.

Workforce Solutions will use the room to help people with job searches, creating and updating résumès, and preparing for interviews.

Community In Action, an organization serving low- to moderate-income residents by providing education, counseling, skills development, and access to community resources, also will benefit from the new space, Goodman said.

And business owners can use the room for conference calls, video chats, and group meetings.

The room will house makerspace equipment so patrons both young and old can design and build DIY projects and inventions.

Goodman said this room will be a “beautiful and inviting space with the newest technology innovations for the public to use free of charge.”

“The Community Education Room is flexible,” Goodman said. “There’s a lot of versatility.”

The public computer room will have 12 computer work stations.

Lyndon B. Johnson High School students can use the computers to locate scholarships and apply for colleges and grants. Future entrepreneurs can research and write proposals and plans.

Goodman hopes to purchase new furniture by Christmas, while work on a glass wall to divide the space will begin after Jan. 1.

The goal is to finish both new rooms by March.

Call (830) 868-4469 or go to jclibrarysite.org for more on the Johnson City Library, 501 Nugent Ave.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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