Brazil Public Library Board members Dale Blackwell, Steve Garlits, Betty Burkhart, Susan Crick, Caroline McCullough, Library Director Jill Scarbrough, Betty Palm, Mary Ann Gossett and Brazil Mayor Tom Arthur broke ground for the library expansion Tuesday afternoon.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday afternoon for the Brazil Public Library. The library is now undergoing a roughly $1.6 million renovation/expansion project to add about 7,000 square feet. The design of the the project was created by Pyramid Architecture.
Participating in the event were library employees, Library Board members and members of the public. "The future of our city is the youth and that youth has to be educated," Mayor Tom Arthur told The Brazil Times. "This expansion means we can provide better facilities and a lot better material for the youth and for the future of our city."
Arthur said in 100 years, the library will be 200 years old and people will look back with pride on the library and that in 2005 residents had the foresight to provide the needed expansion. He called that expansion "exciting."
"Today marks both an end and a beginning," Library Director Jill Scarbrough told The Brazil Times. "The design and development phase, which required the support of so many gathered today, will come to an end.
"We say goodbye to the building, as we know it, and move on to our temporary home at the annex and in the new building at the back of the annex parking lot and we say hello to the beginning of our renovation and construction project."
Scarbrough had this message for her library staff: "You've heard my promises for the last five years; today I can definitely say, 'Yes this is really going to happen,' and for all of you, life has been disrupted as construction begins on this historic building.
"Earlier this fall you moved more than 25,000 items and lots of heavy furniture and a big thank you goes out to all of you. Hang in there, and please know that the extra effort the next year will require is deeply appreciated.
"This building will be made up of wood and stone, but the mortar that will hold it together is made up of people who love and care for all that is represented by this new structure."
She called the Brazil Public Library staff, "the best staff of any library around.
"This renovation and construction projects means a great deal to the Brazil Public Library," she continued. "It is a very significant addition to this community and a very important expansion to our historic building. The project strengthens our promise that our community will be improved and the patrons will have a new and adequate space in which to discover new possibilities. The rooms inside the building have been dedicated to knowledge, the arts, history, science and literature."
Library Board Member Dale Blackwell says there are some definite improvements that will come with the addition.
"We have skirted the disability issue," he said. "We have told people they can have full access to the annex and we will bring you materials you cannot access in the main building, if you are disabled. But the new addition will have an elevator to give everyone access to the stacks."
He is also happy about the planned meeting rooms on the main floor and other improvements that will reduce heating costs.
"It's not just an expansion, it's an overall improvement of the library as a facility for the community," Blackwell said.
Editor Frank Phillips contributed to this report.