Tuesday, August 18, 2015

EDITORIAL >> New library instant hit

Cabot opened its new $2.6 million public library on West Main Street on Monday. The spacious modern design has 24,000 square feet, six times the size of the old Arlene Cherry Library.

The new facility continues a trend we’ve noticed at other new libraries in the area, such as Jacksonville’s Esther D. Nixon library and the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library in Little Rock.

The colorful new library, designed by Robert Schelle of Cabot, is pleasing to the eye and invites visitors to broaden their minds. It’s a temple of learning, where patrons can borrow thousands of books, use dozens of computers and reach out beyond their world through the Internet and interactive games.

The library is centrally located and has more parking. It is easily accessible from the highway and within walking distance for some neighborhoods.

The new facility is a tribute to the city’s leadership and its forward-thinking residents who approved a $42 million bond issue for the library, along with a sports and aquatics complex, a new freeway interchange, sewer improvements and drainage work in the Highlands subdivision.

Cabot’s library is an architectural marvel and is part of the city’s master plan for the streetscape and drainage improvements. The building was gutted except for the roof and the outside walls. The old storefront glass partitions were taken out.

There’s much more at the new library, from meeting rooms to storytime for kids to genealogical records for the whole family. Students are also encouraged to do their homework and research at the new library.

Tammie Evans, the energetic young librarian, says the library has much to offer the community. Don’t be surprised to see her at the next chamber of commerce luncheon or at CabotFest, where she will invite everyone to the library to find out for themselves what it has to offer.

There are low shelves and bright colors everywhere: calypso blue, mandarin orange, electric lime green, daisy yellow and cayenne pepper red. Colorful furniture adds to the welcoming feel at the library. Stained wood brings warmth to the building.

The floors are made of cork, which requires less maintenance, is environmentally friendly and has a less intuitional look. It is good for walking and standing. It is easy on the feet and has sound-deadening qualities.

Four study rooms have glass fronts. Two meeting pods in the center are enclosed with glass walls and doors.

The architects left nothing out: The children’s section has storybook characters etched into the glass walls as a safety measure so people do not run into the glass while walking. The fenced-in outdoor children’s area has an amphitheater to host library programs. It has a figure-eight walking track and landscaped lawn space.

The community room can be used for meetings when the library is closed. It has a state-of-the-art audio and visual system.

“I think it is going to be a useful space,” Schelle said, modestly, about his masterpiece.

Drop in for a visit soon, and you’ll agree.