New Knoxville Library Planning Renovation

Staff Writer

Rotarians in New Bremen and New Knoxville got a chance to hear from someone local, and also countywide, at their Tuesday meeting. Beth Steiner, director of the Auglaize County Public District Library System, and Michelle Parker, New Bremen/New Knoxville Library Supervisor, spoke to the club about renovations they want to complete later this year.
The pair have been fundraising and collecting money in hopes of being able to afford the cost of some minor, but necessary renovations. The library on South Main Street is looking to replace their 30-year-old carpet, update their paint, get new-to-them shelves and furniture. Their goal is to raise $20,000 to $30,000 to be able to complete all of the work.
“We would like the Rotary to be a part of it,” Steiner said. “You’re such a big presence and we would appreciate [it]. We’ve done some fundraising already, we are also putting some of the state funds toward this project.
“But we want to see how great we can make it and hopefully it will make a huge different and help encourage you to come through the doors.”
Ohio is one of two states that receives funding for the public libraries from the state, Steiner mentioned. With that said, she added they still would like to be able to complete all of the tasks on their list and don’t want to use all of their state funding to do so.
The library did receive a little updating on the outside not too long ago, Steiner said, noting that Parker was the driving force behind that.
Parker said she reached out to Friends of the New Knoxville Library to ask for donations to touch up their signs, which were peeling, and update the faded paint. They also received a donation for a new door, something Parker noted was not a big change, but certainly helped the building overall and helped encourage people to come inside.
They also received some newer appliances when the Wapakoneta location completed their remodel but it also showed how poor of condition some of their shelving was.
“When Wapak did their renovations, they did have some shelves leftover and the shelving is nicer than ours,” Parker said. “Ours is all metal, and sometimes rusted metal. They’re not the most attractive things, they’re functional, but they’re not the most attractive things.”
While their old shelves still get the job done, both ladies agreed that they wanted to be able to provide a nice environment that people would want to come into and so they could provide what the community wanted, as they both said they are community based.
“Our libraries are community centers,” Steiner said. “We are not there to be the quiet library where you shush people. We don’t do that, that is not something librarians do — at least not in our six libraries — that is not what our background is.
“We want you to come and enjoy the space so we’re trying to update our locations and make them more user friendly for the communities.”

Read the full story in Wednesday's Leader.