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A gem of a facility

June 29, 2018 GMT

One of the architects who worked on the Norfolk Public Library’s renovation and expansion project came away more than a bit impressed with the turnout last month for the grand reopening of the facility.

In the many years she has been involved with other similar projects and participated in public openings, never has she seen as large a crowd as turned out for Norfolk’s ceremony.

Hundreds of people — from children to senior citizens — showed up to listen to congratulatory remarks and then get their first look at the improvements.

And it took place on a weekday, in the middle of the morning, no less.

That’s an anecdotal example, but it tends to speak volumes about the interest in and support for the city’s “almost” new library facility.

A temporary half-cent increase in the city sales tax provided the revenue for the multimillion-dollar renovation of the library.

It allowed for additional space, new features and furnishings and a more appropriate home for the City of Norfolk’s IT operations, which also is located in the library.

Library director Jessica Chamberlain and her staff members — along with library board and foundation members — deserve credit for helping guide the improvement project along while still providing services to patrons.

Some may still hold to the misguided and erroneous notion that libraries — given the digital age we live in today — are a thing of the past.

The ever-increasing use of Norfolk’s library — as well as facilities in Northeast Nebraska’s smaller communities — should bury that perception once and for all.

Whether it’s to check out books, go online on a computer, have a cup of coffee, participate in a meeting or activity, read a newspaper or magazine, listen to a CD or watch a DVD or conduct research, there are almost countless ways that a library can be of service to patrons.

That’s why libraries will continue to serve as invaluable community gathering spots and resources for many decades to come.

The Norfolk Public Library qualifies as a gem for the community. It was in the past, too, but now it’s sparkling even brighter.