After more than a year and a half of planning, designing, budgeting and building, the McCleary Timberland Library held its grand re-opening ceremony to the public on Thursday, March 2. While the remodel allowed the library to open its doors to the public on Feb. 1, it maintained a similar aesthetic to that of a brand-new car when first bought, unused, and in mint condition.
More than 30 people came to see what the library had to offer visually and to celebrate the joyous occasion. From new lighting, flooring, wiring, furniture and staff rooms among other items, an argument could be made that the library interior is more modern in its design than any other building in the rural East County town.
Although the McCleary Timberland Library has roots dating back to nearly a century ago, even before the town became incorporated, it didn’t become ingrained in the Timberland Regional Library system until 1969. Before the remodel began, the library hadn’t seen much in terms of updates since 2003 and when the opportunity came to spruce up the building, it didn’t take long to see what was needed.
“A lot of things that we saw in this building were stuff like bad lighting, it was very dark. The flooring was all carpet and with coming out of a pandemic, knowing things needed to be cleanable, we wanted to add some hardwood flooring,” said Brenda Lane, the operations director for Timberland Regional Libraries. “We also saw that the building needed more spacing for our ADA patrons as well as comfortable places for families to sit.”
Leather couches and chairs now provide adults and youth alike with the ability to relax and ingrain themselves with the countless variety of books in stock, and the new computer lab setup allows for a small amount of privacy from the others exploring the inside. Lane noted that while most of the remodeling is officially done, patrons may see some more furniture, shelving and wall décor come into the building as time passes.
According to Lane, the entirety of the remodel was budgeted for $250,000 with $150,000 of it going to the construction and materials and the rest to staffing hours. None of the finances came from the city of McCleary as it was procured from Timberland Regional Libraries’ special purpose fund.
“Out of 29 buildings, I would say that this one is probably the most gratifying because the change here is just night and day. If you look at the before pictures and you look at it now, it’s just a really great refresh that we were able to do,” said Lane.
The same sentiment was expressed by other people in the crowd as many reminisced about their personal experiences with McCleary Timberland Library.
“Elementary school students were shuttled down to check out books and use the space and I was one of those kids, so it means a lot to be here today,” said Sydney Newbill, an ambassador for Greater Grays Harbor Inc., in her welcoming speech.
After some brief remarks and guided tours of the remodeled library by members of Timberland Regional Libraries, patrons were able to enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks that were given by the Friends of the McCleary Timberland Library organization.
With extended hours now included in the library, guests can enjoy all that the building has to offer every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., including holidays.
Contact Reporter Allen Leister at 360-463-3572 or firstname.lastname@example.org