By Cara Pallone
The new Lone Cone Library, located at 1455 Pinion Street, will have its soft opening on May 6th and the grand opening is slated for June 8th.
“Our first event is actually Mommy Makeover, and that’s on May 9th, so we’ll open on the 6th and have our first event with 25 little kids and their moms. So that will be fun. But we really want people to get in and see the space.”
That’s the library’s executive director, Carrie Andrew, who led a private tour of the brand new building Thursday, showcasing the highlights, from the light-filled lobby to the spacious multipurpose community room to the individual study rooms, children’s area and colorful modern furniture throughout. There’s even a patio off the back of the library that looks out at its namesake peak and other mountain ranges. A walking trail will be established in the future so that people can do laps around the grounds with their kiddos or just to take a break from computer screens.
The inside of the building is finished, save for a few loose ends, and construction crews are finishing up the final exterior checklist.
As Andrew guides us through the new $4.3 million-dollar, 10,900 square-foot facility, made possible by voters who approved a tax increase back in 2016, we talk about the controversial ballot measure. It passed with more than 100 votes, but drew sharp criticism from opponents.
With the new library now ready to serve patrons, Andrew says she hopes those who had or have doubts will appreciate the space and the many new purposes it can accommodate.
“Changes can be hard for people. We were all attached to the old building, it has a lot of history and meaning, and I didn’t want to disregard that, but at the same time, it didn’t service the needs of the community or libraries as they’re evolving and becoming now.”
The new Lone Cone Library illustrates that evolving role of libraries and their evolution from a place to check out a book to community centers – hubs where people can go to work and use the internet, bring their children for programs, hold meetings and events, or simply hang out and enjoy the comfy chairs while they read.
“And it’s a neutral place, so everyone can come and hopefully feel comfortable. It’s important to have places where everyone can come and you’re not discriminated against for any reason.”
Among the highlights of the new space is what is being called the community living room. It’s the focal point of the library and boasts a gas fireplace, a seating area with a long flat ottoman and nearby shelves with board games, coffee table books and magazines so that people can gather and play games, read by the fire or work on their laptops.
The children’s area has access to the patio for outdoor summer programs, an arts and crafts section with a concrete floor so messes won’t matter, books organized by age group, and benches with cushions to ensure a cozy story time.
Staff offices are behind the circulation desk. Andrew says she’s hired a couple of people in recent months who will take on various tasks.
One such person is Megan Coxwell, who recently moved to Norwood from Dolores, where she worked at the library there. She’ll be taking on teen and adult summer reading programs, among other responsibilities.
“Dolores got a new library, and they had a very, very small library and they expanded to a beautiful location on the river and a big library. It brought the readership up in town and there were programs for kids and it made a beautiful center for town, too.”
Andrew says the design of the new library was based on a feasibility study that was conducted several years ago. It was a broad study that included interviews with about 70 community members. She says the top request was a pool, which was obviously beyond the scope of the library. But another desire that rose to the top was for a community meeting room that could host events, banquets, trainings, meetings, art shows and receptions.
Hence the 2,000 square foot multipurpose room in the new library, which is roughly the same size as the entire old library space. It has a dividing wall so that the room can be transformed into two rooms and booked individually. It has mounted big-screen TVs on the walls and a projector. It’s where, for example, the board of county commissioners will conduct their Norwood meetings. And if they happen to be addressing a particularly controversial item, there will certainly be enough space to accommodate a big turnout.
There’s also a warming kitchen to allow for a catered event, as well as tables, chairs and place settings for 144 people.
The new library will also have new hours. It will open an hour earlier, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. And from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The old library opened at 11. Andrew says she hopes people enjoy the new facility.
“I just hope people enjoy it as much as we already are. Being in here and working every day, I’m happier every single day. It’s comfortable and welcoming. It feels like there’s a place for everything. It’s fun to have purpose-driven spaces so we can do all the ideas people have, as much as staff capacity allows.”
Again, a soft opening for the Lone Cone Library is May 6th with the grand opening slated for Saturday, June 8th.