"Buildings change, faces change, but libraries remain much the same," began Kathryn Ames, Director of the Athens Regional Library System in Starting a New Chapter. Certainly the library has changed significantly from its beginning in 1913 with one room, 500 books and 200 readers. Today's new library has over 83,000 square feet, 200,000 books, over 66,000 readers, about 100 computers, and loads of video and audio resources. But the new library today still works to match people with the information they need just as the early libraries did--the people and the times have changed!
One library patron noted in the Thanks for the Memories project that "Librarians were the original computers." Maybe things haven't changed as much as we thought.
Director Ames and librarians Donna Brumby, Trudi Green and Sarah Reynolds offered a virtual tour of various parts of our library spaces during this program. While it won't match your own actual exploration, you can see the study and meeting areas, the children's area, the interest centers, the cyber room, the special collections, the Heritage room, and some of the expensive equipment residents of Athens-Clarke County can use for free.
Many of today's programs had their roots in the early libraries: book clubs and children's story times have been going on since the library began, only now we have them in spades! The library began outreach by providing books to people in the hospital, but outreach is extended now to Meals on Wheels and services for people without sight and many more.
The new library is a welcoming place, a place where everyone belongs, and all set for a couple of decades as a place to learn, exchange ideas or just enjoy.