Groundbreaking Ceremony Saturday Launches Library Expansion Project

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After three years of planning, fundraising, acquiring property, and changing plans to fit budget, the much needed expansion of Adams Memorial Library building will officially start with groundbreaking ceremonies Saturday, April 21 at 2 o’clock.

With families and friends, looking on, a student from each of Cannon County's schools will wield a decorated shovel that ceremonially gets the project underway. The students were selected in an essay contest last year and have been patiently waiting to perform the shoveling duties as their prize. The public is invited and urged to attend the groundbreaking ceremony. Light refreshments will be served.

The plans include a 3,000 square foot addition to the south end of the present building and a complete remodeling of the existing 6,000 square foot building that was built in 1965. Also included in the plans are a paved and lighted parking lot that will accommodate easy access to the new entrance on the west side of the building.

In 1964 a group of citizens, wanted to honor the memory and contributions of local physician, banker and businessman J. F. Adams and his hard-working wife, Laura Hudson Adams. They decided that a first-class library building would be a fitting memorial, and they raised funds from friends, the Adams family and the community at large. The current building at 212 College Streetin Woodbury was dedicated in 1965. It was built on a lot given by Mrs. Adams for that purpose.

Since 1965, Cannon County has grown from around 8,500 people to about 13,500, with 15,500 people expected by 2030. At the present time, the demands on the library have grown, too. The library no longer serves merely as a source for reading materials. Public Internet access is now essential, and the 8 computers that have been squeezed into a corner of the library are not enough to satisfy the need. The genealogy room boasts a vast collection of family history books, microfilm library and other data widely used by hundreds of visitors.

The library was visited 49,416 times in 2011, a 73% increase over two years! Forty percent of the county’s population are registered library users.

The meeting space lacks provision for current technology and doubles as storage space, which is unappealing and unsafe. The plumbing overflows often. Better access for disabled people, more staff workspace, improved plumbing, updated wiring, and paved, lighted off street parking are also necessary.

The expanded and remodeled building, expected to be completed by local contractor Preston Brothers Construction in December of this year, will include: a Technology Center with room for 24 computers, a Copy Center, a Young Adults’ Room, a more inviting Children’s Room, additional restrooms, a fully renovated multi-purpose Community Room, updated technology in all areas, more staff workspace and additional storage space, much more seating of several kinds, an on-grade entry and accessible design, paved, lighted, off-street parking.

The building is owned by the Dr. and Mrs. J. F. Adams Memorial Association and provided at no cost to the county. The association also funds all maintenance and upkeep of the property. Members of the board of directors of the association are: Donnie Odom, Angie Ott, Barbara Parker, Gerald Molitor, Jackie Francis, Charlie Harrell, Steve Smith, Herb Alsup, Regina Merriman, treasurer, Wilma Adams, vice president and Austin Jennings, president. Rita Allen is Library Director.

The building committee members are: Angie Ott, Charlie Harrell, Nolan Travis, Bill Bryson, Herb Alsup, treasurer and Rita Allen, project coordinator.

The fundraising campaign is headed by Peggy Tate and Charlie Harrell as co-chairmen and Austin Jennings as campaign advisor. Others on that committee are Lois Larimer, Wilma Adams, Melissa and Matt Tepley, Herb Alsup and Angie Ott. They will launch a  general fundraising campaign with the groundbreaking ceremony that will give every person in Cannon County opportunity to contribute toward the $200,000 needed to be able to have the project completely paid for upon its completion in December of this year.

A prominent recognition wall in the library will list donors in the following groups: Director’s Circle - gifts of $100,000 or more, Leadership Circle - gifts of $50,000 - $99.999, Benefactor Circle - gifts of $25,000 - $49,999, Patron Circle - gifts of $10,000 - $24,999, Sponsor Circle - gifts of $5000 - $9,999, Contributor Circle - gifts of $2,500 - $4,999, and Reader Circle - gifts of $1,000 - $2,499. All gifts will be recorded in a beautiful bound volume to be on display at the library.

The memorial association is a non-profit charitable organization. Gifts are tax deductible. Gift pledges may be paid over three years.

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