Ten years ago, the big-box home improvement store “Payless Cashways” sat empty on a hillside overlooking Campbell Avenue in south Springfield.
Springfield-Greene County Library officials and the Board of Trustees were scouting sites for a new branch when then-president of the board Andy Montebello asked finally, “What about that Payless building?”
What followed was a good measure of vision, courage and donor support.
Hard to believe, but Nov. 7 marks the 10th anniversary of the Library Center at 4653 S. Campbell Ave. Everyone is invited to celebrate the occasion during a day of events for all ages. Activities go from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; be sure to drop by at 11 a.m. for a brief ceremony and cake for all.
Library Center Manager Lorraine Sandstrom recalls opening day 10 years ago and being amazed. The new branch combined traditional library services with amenities such as a drive-up window, the Between Friends gift shop, a coffee café and private study rooms and auditorium.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘This is just the beginning, this is not an end in itself,’” Sandstrom said. “It changed the public’s and the staff’s perceptions of what a library could be. It changed all of us.
“It pushed the staff to think beyond the library we grew up with,” she added. “It made us realize that we are a true community center, and this district has designed every library built since then to have those elements that make it a community center and a destination center.”
Since November 2000, the Library Center has averaged 12,000 to 15,000 visitors every week. About 5,000 people use the meeting rooms monthly.
With all that company over 10 years, the Library Center is showing its age and needs a touch-up. To help, the Library Foundation has kicked off a campaign, “$10 for 10 years.” Donors can direct their gifts to help refurbish the children’s outdoor Story Garden, upgrade the meeting rooms, or to where it’s needed most.
Look for complete list of anniversary day activities at thelibrary.org, and catch us on Twitter at twitter.com/springfieldlib.
Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director of the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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