North Liberty Community Library celebrates grand opening

Library completed a $3.4 million expansion and has nearly tripled in size

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Hushed voices are the typical volume of chatter at most libraries, but on Sunday the newly-expanded North Liberty Community Library was abuzz with families and children relishing the improved space.

Community leaders say the expanded library coincides with the rapidly expanding community and with nearly triple the space of the previous library, there's room for everyone.

"Our goal was to have space for everyone and not have everyone on top of each other," said Jennie Garner, assistant library director.

The $3.4 million expansion gave more reading and bookshelf space for patrons of all ages and added a teen lounge, a children's story time space, meeting rooms, more comfortable seating and additional technology.

Although the library, located in the North Liberty Community Center, had a small opening Aug. 12, a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the community on Sunday to check out the space while enjoying refreshments and children's activities including a scavenger hunt and story time with local readers.

Garner said she's seen a stream of locals pop in to check out the nearly 18,000 square feet of space and enjoys their reaction to the upgrade. The library's previous location was  1,400 square feet of space adjacent to the North Liberty Fire Station.

"It's fun to see people just walk in and say 'wow'," she said.

For Janet Peterson and her 5-year-old grandson, Trevor Peterson, the library's re-opening is a relief.

"He's been waiting since 10 o'clock this morning for one o'clock to come," Peterson said.

Reading is a favorite activity for the two of them and the 63-year-old said both will benefit from the additional services. She said she's always impressed with the up-to-date selection of books while Trevor loves to thumb through books about space.

Garner said the City of North Liberty gave  $2 million to support the expansion and the remaining funds were raised through local contributions.

North Liberty is a rapidly growing community, the 2010 Census reported the city's  population over 13,000 and the Census Bureau's latest estimates peg the current population around 14,500 residents.

Mayor Tom Salm said as more families settle down in the community, it's important for the city to provide a variety of activities for families and the library's improved location in the community center makes it easier for residents.

"Our goal here in North Liberty is to be a family-friendly community," Salm said. "It makes it easy (for them) that they can come to one location."

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