Opinion: Building a new and improved GPL

Cheryl Dobbs There are times in every remodel when you think to yourself, “Why did…

There are times in every remodel when you think to yourself, “Why did I ever think this was a good idea?” When you’ve washed dishes in the tub all month during your kitchen remodel your kitchen, or had to share a bathroom with your teen during a master bath remodel, even the most worthwhile projects can test your patience. But when it is finally done, all those temporary discomforts are forgotten as you enjoy your new and more efficient space.

The renovation currently underway at Greenwood Library was initially slated to be complete at the end of 2021, which seemed like a long way away when we began to plan in 2019. Now we are looking at substantial completion in June – and it can’t get here fast enough. Ours is the usual story of supply chain delays and staff shortages that have plagued so many projects. While we are fortunate to have a building big enough to allow us to shift things around and remain open during the messiest parts of our renovation, the process has been a stressor for staff and patrons alike.

So why did we think this as a good idea? Our goal all along has been to keep our building structurally sound and efficient and improve our ability to meet the needs of our patrons. GPL is 105 years old, and we have been at our current address for almost 60 years. Our current building is a combination of the original structure and three expansion projects over the years. We may look pretty good for our age, but without updates and maintenance our building would soon not be worth the tax dollars that built it.

No matter how you “library,” you’ll see improvements just for you in the new and improved GPL. Stop by the newly redesigned butterfly garden this spring and enjoy handicap accessible seating and free wifi in a beautiful garden. Looking for a space to study or meet with clients? Reserve one of our 11 study rooms on the second floor. We have even reimagined our executive board room as a reservable space for your non-profit board or business meeting. Do you have a larger meeting and need to reserve a room? Our main meeting rooms feature digital projectors, updated furnishings, and plenty of whiteboard space (reservable soon!).

If you are looking to create, we’ve got you covered with GPL’s makerspace: The Studio. Our new Studio 2.0 is still under construction, but the original studio is open for use. Our new expanded studio will include new equipment, like the Glowforge, which can laser cut and engrave a wide variety of surfaces. Whether you are creating customized home décor, a sign for your business, promotional materials, or a unique teacher-appreciation item, the Glowforge will be ready for you soon! It joins a great lineup of equipment including our button maker, loom, Cricut, 3D printer, sewing machine, and all sorts of recording studio equipment.

Another exciting new area is taking shape just outside the Studio. The Hub will be your place to get work done in an innovative space. Grab your laptop, bring your coffee, and enjoy high speed wifi, comfortable seating, and an efficient workspace designed just for you and your colleagues. We are looking for completion of this space soon, but even now we have plenty of great study areas to keep you working.

The GPL Living room (sponsored by the Greenwood Rotary Club and Modern Woodmen) is a new area which will soon host families in need of spaces for supervised visitation or other casework appointments. This unique room will provide a comfortable, homey environment to provide Greenwood families with everything they need to succeed.

If you are looking for creative play time for your kids, the only limit is your imagination at GPL. Already the home of Main Street GPL and a library of toys to check out, we’ll soon include a new and improved interactive zone with an Everbright light wall and an improved magnetic ball run with endless possibilities.

Finally, take a browse through our book collection, board games, try-it kits, STEAM kits and take a little GPL fun home with you. New shelving throughout the building is creating a brighter, more open browsing experience.

Libraries are about connecting, discovering, and creating and we’ve just made it more fun than ever to do just that.