It was a last-minute scramble to the finish, but after 40 days of being closed, the Sedalia Public Library opens today in its temporary location in the former McLaughlin Bros. Furniture Store building.
“We’re very excited about opening and ready for everyone to see what we’ve done with the space,” said library director Pam Hunter. “This building is actually a great place for a library. It’s starting to feel a little like home.”
In late July cracks were found in the 111-year-old library’s west wall, prompting the closure of the west wing and then the entire building in late August. While crews worked to fix the issues — at a price tag of $750,000 at last estimate — Hunter and her team began looking for a space to open temporarily. When State Fair Community College offered the McLaughlin building for $1 for a 12-month lease, they jumped at the opportunity.
“We were told by the engineers it will take at least six months until the library work is finished and we knew we couldn’t be closed for that long,” she said. “We’ve spent the past month or so moving in and getting the space ready. We’re proud of what we’ve done.”
The new building will house about two-thirds of the library’s collection with Hunter and the librarians picking out favorite and well-read authors.
“We know what’s checked out most often and what people want to see so we brought as much as we could,” she said. “And once we get all our shelving in, depending on how much space is left, we can add more.”
Because most of the library’s shelving is built-in, the Kansas City-based Mid-Continent Public Library System offered to donate extra shelves. But because of their weight, they couldn’t be moved in a regular truck, so Ditzfeld Transfer offered the use of one of its rigs.
“Between Ditzfeld Transfer and State Fair Moving and Storage, we’re going to get those shelves in some way or another,” Hunter said. “It’s really been a community effort and so many people have volunteered to help; it’s made a very stressful time a little bit better.”
Hunter said a structural engineer was scheduled to come to the library this week to meet with two companies to bid out the peering work needed and estimated she’d have a “firm, final figure on expenses” in approximately two weeks.”
The costs have already been rolled into the city’s upcoming bond that will also pay for the repair of the Washington Avenue bridge, the purchase of a 100-foot ladder truck and building a new fire station to replace Station No. 2.
“We’re not sure about that final number,” Hunter said. “In my experience, engineers tend to estimate high so it may be right around the $750,000 number we’ve been looking at or it may be higher.
“But right now I’m focusing on the more important matter at hand — getting the library up and running again and continuing services for our patrons.”
The Sedalia Public Library is now located at 515 S. Ohio Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays through Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.
For more information call 826-1314.