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A second level of learning

For almost two years, the staff at the Demopolis Public Library has diligently worked to transform the building’s second floor into an area dedicated to children. After the paint, sweat and tears have been cleaned up and dried, the library is finally ready to have an official grand opening Monday, Feb. 20.

“It’s been over two years since we first started working on it. We felt that we needed a room for parents and children to come in and enjoy our collection,” library director Lindsy Gardner said. “We also wanted to have our children’s books closer to the computers so they could be aware of what we have to offer as well.”

During the construction period, Gardner said she visited area libraries with children’s areas and attended many workshops before making a final decision on the plans for Demopolis’ children’s area.

“I knew I wanted to keep the feel of the second floor like it is everywhere else,” she said.

With the help of area artists and donors, Gardner said the area has transformed into something she is “very pleased with.”

“Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. does his own letter press designs. I saw his things in Tuscaloosa and I was impressed. He ended up doing some special things for us, although it’s different from the work he usually does,” Gardner said. “The Alabama Power service organization donated money for the village-shaped shelving unit and Kurt Brooker did two murals.”

The Gates Foundation donated computers to the area, Gardner said, and the Marengo County Commission donated money for computer learning software.

“Thanks to them we have computer learning games for toddlers, who are learning how to use the mouse, all the way up to young adults,” she said.

The children’s area also features hands-on learning games, playhouses and, of course, books.

“We’re still adding all the time. We are going to get more games, audio books for juveniles and young adults, a wider selection of magazines, and more from the paperback series,” Gardener said. “We are also looking to buy a new playhouse and a puppet theater. We want this area to be about discovery so we are always going to switch things out.”

Even though children have spent time in their new area since last week, the official opening will be held Monday, Feb. 20 beginning at 2 p.m.

The evening is set to kickoff with a performance from Bob Parsons of Walk-About Puppets followed by a reception with refreshments and special guest, Louie the Lightning Bug.

“Mr. Parsons is from Australia and he makes his own puppets,” Gardner said. “They are actually more like marionettes, but he’s great.”