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$300 project adds space, sunlight to Helper library


Sun Advocate reporter

It was only three weeks ago that Helper City librarian Amanda Holley told her city council, "We are stuffed to the gills."

She was talking about trying to cram books, shelves, office space, and a handful of computer work stations - not to mention readers - into 1,400 square feet of floor space in the Civic Auditorium building.

As of Tuesday, the library had 2,100 square feet - a 50 percent increase in floor space that also has windows to let the sunlight stream in. Holley said the outlay was about $300. That comes out to just a little less than 43 cents per square foot.

All it took was for city employees and volunteers to punch down a wall that had been separating the library from an adjacent store room. That opened up the 20-by-35-foot room for new use as a reading room and lounge, and opened up more space for the stacks.

Library Board chairman Mark Wickman explained that the room had housed folding tables and chairs, and was maybe used three times a year for events like the St. Anthony's Catholic Carnival. "The board figured it was better to use it five or six days a week instead of just letting it sit most of the time," he said Tuesday.

As usual, volunteers made a difference. One Boy Scout, Carbon High School 10th grader Keven Mastin, even made the expansion his Eagle project. Mastin recruited friends and family in the effort to unstack and restack books, clean up the mess after the wall was demolished, and paint the gap where the wall had been.

With a little more elbow room in the place, Holley noted, it is time to move ahead with some much-needed rearranging. She said that the library will soon create a separate area for young adults and will have a larger area for children's reading. The cramping in the computer area will be relieved by moving the shelves that now dominate the center of the room to the walls. This will allow the computer tables to occupy the center.

The few events at Civic Aud that needed the floor space will still be able to use it, Holley said. That usage has been grandfathered. There's a folding metal partition wall that separates the lounge from the rest of the library. It can be closed and locked for security.

Ahead lies some additional cosmetic work, such as painting and floor treatment, but that will take some grants, the librarian said.

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