Librarians (from left) Bronwyn Wenzel, Serena Gutnik and Barb Verhey sit in the new teen room at the Rock County Community Library. After two months of construction, the library will reopen to patrons Monday.

Remodeled library to reopen March 14

Ribbon-cutting event set for 5 p.m., Thursday, March 17, following the St. Patrick's Day Parade

The Rock County Community Library has been closed to patrons over the past month, and during that time the inside of the building received fresh paint, new carpeting and a whole new update.

The library will reopen to patrons Monday.

“We finally get to share all this work with the community,” said library director Serena Gutnik. “They have been really patient through all of this.”

Originally plans were in place to operate out of the library’s basement with patron access to selected materials. The library closed from Jan. 19-27 as the move to the basement took place.

When shelving arrived weeks earlier than expected, the library closed for a second time on Feb. 18, as materials were moved back upstairs.

Gutnik said using local contractors sped the project along, and just three major projects remain to be completed this week: ends and tops for the new shelving put in place, assembly of the children’s furniture and completion of the new technology system.

“When we reopen, the library will be a showcase to the talented work they have done,” she said.

For Gutnik, the end of the remodeling will be a relief.

Likening the project to juggling, Gutnik said she and her two-member staff are able to put some projects down one by one.

“I’ve felt I have had so many balls in the air — the tasks you do every day and then add some other balls with the remodeling,” Gutnik said.

As workers completed the main floor upgrades, the library staff has ordered new materials, planned summer activities, filled interlibrary loan requests and purged more than 2,000 items from the shelves.

“Our shelves, while new, are full,” she said.

Since its closure, the library has been receiving borrowed materials, but its lending has been well below the usual 8 percent of its inventory.

When the building reopens, Gutnik hopes it has more of a library feel with shelves and the circulation desk immediately greeting patrons as they walk through the door.

She also hopes more patrons will take advantage of the new teen reading room as well as utilize the separate computer room. Six new computers are available for public use.

“We are excited about the new draw,” Gutnik said. “Everything looks great … the end result is what we wanted.”

Final costs continue to be tallied but Gutnik said she expects the project to continue under budget.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 17, after the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Refreshments will be served.

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