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Carthage Free Library enjoying improvements in services after renovation

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CARTHAGE — It’s been a year since the expanded Carthage Free Library reopened and the 100-year-old institution is bigger and better than ever.

Ground was broken for the 3,400-square-foot addition in September 2011. The $1.1 million project nearly doubled the library’s space and improved its heating and cooling system. A wheelchair lift, a teen room, a separate area for computers and a community room were added. The project also enlarged the children’s reading room and the Heritage Room, where historical and genealogical documents are available.

The library has hosted many new adult and children’s programs in the community room, including a monthly cooking demonstration in the kitchen area, computer instruction, weekly art classes and Lego building contests.

Library Director Linda M. McCullough said the staff is looking into ways to further use the community room.

“We want to bring in people to help serve the community in different ways,” she said.

The room may be used by the public for a nominal fee when it is available.

Computer and technology classes have been conducted throughout the year, and according to library board President Camelia T. Moses, “many community members, especially senior citizens, have been taking advantage of them.”

With the addition of a teen room, a teen group has been established. The teens have participated in many activities, including a visit to residents at the senior housing units for an evening of games, a Halloween party and movie nights.

Abigail H. Bamberg, 15, Carthage, said the group is informal and makes plans mainly on a week-to-week basis. She said future plans include a possible lock-in at the library during winter break, movie nights and an anime night in the spring.

“It’s just a group of teenagers like me who hang out and enjoy each other’s company — it’s something fun to do out of the ordinary,” Abigail said. “Anyone 13 to 18 can show up Thursday nights and join in … we don’t discriminate.”

The group meets from 5 to 8 p.m.

Another group that has become active is the Friends of the Library, a volunteer organization that provides financial support through hosting fundraisers to allow the library to purchase items not covered by its budget.

The group meets quarterly and has bake and book sales as fundraisers. Its next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 21 the library. Anyone interested in joining the group should contact Mrs. Harding at 688-3005 or by email at just2oldsouls@yahoo.com.

Mrs. Harding also is the children’s activities coordinator at the library and conducts the preschool story hour on Thursdays starting at 10:45 a.m.

There are two vacant seats on the library board, which oversees the library’s operations. Anyone interested should call Mrs. Moses at 493-1523 or the library at 493-2620.

IF YOU Want to visit
The library, at 412 Budd St., is open:
• Noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday
• 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday
• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday
• Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday
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