Elma Timberland Library is set for a makeover thanks to the efforts of the community and Friends of Elma Timberland Library.
The Elma council on March 6 approved a request from the library for $15,000 to match funds already appropriated by a grant from the Grays Harbor Community Foundation.
“We want to offer the community a library they can be proud of and that meets its needs,” library manager Sarah Ogden said.
To do that, Ogden says Elma library will start its renovations by replacing the original carpet that has been in the building since it was built in 1994. However, the work will not stop there.
“If you’re going to look into new carpet, most of the building has not been repainted since it was built,” Ogden said.
The project will entail no shortage of manual labor — the first step in remodeling is to remove the books and bookshelves from the building. Relocation of the books to a storage facility will be done by the Timberland Regional Library. Ogden says the Elma library could be closed for up to three to four weeks while renovations take place.
Ogden notes that even this step in the process provides the library with opportunities to address better ways to serve the community.
“An empty library will allow for us to look at the building and determine what layout works best,” Ogden explained as she had previously noted certain services and collections that could be relocated to make things more convenient for library patrons.
Ogden said it remains to be seen whether renovations will lead to additional services provided by the library.
“It definitely opens up possibilities for us,” she said.
An example of those possibilities that has already come to fruition is the new jobs and small business center in the library. The library is preparing the center by providing a Google Chromebook computer to help people with job hunts and small businesses with support.
Ogden says they are still in the preliminary stages of the project, meaning a firm timeline was unavailable as of the meeting. However, in accordance with stipulations in the grant received from Grays Harbor Community Foundation, the funds should be used within a year of appropriation.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to build a library that better serves the community, with input used from the community,” Ogden said.
Talks of renovation were brought about through community input as well as staff recommendations.
Effort also was put forth by the Friends of the Elma Timberland Library and a five-person library advisory board that helps work through problems and toward solutions.
“We really appreciate our Friends and the Grays Harbor Community Foundation,” Ogden said. “They make it possible, we couldn’t do it without them.”