Construction reaches "turning point" at Grand Island Library

GI library construction should wrap up in January 2019 (NTV News)

More than books, Libraries bring communities together. In Grand Island, patrons have put up with construction but work now moves to the next phase.

"This is really exciting, to move over to the east side of the library is really a turning point for our project," said Library Director Steve Fosselman.

It's a roughly $1 million project, and it's funded with no tax dollars. The money comes strictly from donations and grants.

It comes a dozen years after a major addition, but the world of libraries has changed since then.

"We've evolved in how we define the public library and in our community, the best way for us to describe it is we are the community's life-long learning center," Fosselman said.

As she held her infant son, and watched her boy Dash play in a kitchen play area, mom Carrie Hansen said it's the best library she's seen, and she has visited many.

"There's so much going on at the library," she said.

Moms like Hansen say the Grand Island Public Library is great for young kids.

"We love the library. My son Dash really loves books and he was picking up books and CDs here and we come quite frequently," she said.

The library added a large children's discovery area with the last project a decade ago, and now they're focused on busy teens who are always online.

Fosselman said, "We cooperate with the internet instead of competing with it. We have authoritative databases, we have lots of ways to work with teens and teachers."

They're adding a makerspace with 3-D printers, tools, circuitry, and robotics. Meanwhile, the front entrance has been rebuilt for better traffic flow, with improved meeting spaces.

"Our meeting rooms will certainly be done, our front entrance will be done hopefully in a couple weeks we'll be opening our new front door," Fosselman said.

Fosselman said they scaled back some plans due to financial constraints, and are still raising money, as they build for the future.

"All of the things we think will be good for the community, 10-20 years from now," he said.

They will also have a new outdoor children's discovery area. Work is expected to be done early in the new year.

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