Connie Beetz, Graves-Hume Public Library director shows off the newly installed carpeting in the children’s section of the library. New carpet and fresh paint throughout give the library a new look just in time for its 20th anniversary this February. (Reporter photo by Jennifer Sommer)
MENDOTA – Check out the new look inside the Graves-Hume Public Library. The recently remodeled library has all new carpeting and fresh paint throughout. “And the best part - taxes are not going up because of it,” stated Connie Beetz, library director.
Beetz applied for a $33,000 Live and Learn Construction Grant through the Illinois State Library in January 2013 and received acceptance last April. “I was so happy I could have jumped for joy,” Beetz exclaimed.
For the remainder of the year, Beetz planned the huge makeover.
“We are very lucky. We would not have been able to do it without the grant,” she said.
The original carpeting was starting to show wear and tear. Not only were some spots looking old, but Beetz said portions in the children’s section and under the computers were starting to get tears that could be potentially dangerous.
The walls throughout were ready for a fresh coat of paint, as well.
Finally, the last week of December, the library temporarily closed for the upgrades.
The first time Beetz checked out the finished renovations, she was in awe at how different the library looked and felt. “I think it’s just more inviting. I really like it,” she said.
The old carpet was replaced with commercial-grade carpet tiles that can be replaced where and when needed. “If one gets damaged, we can pull it up and replace it with another one. It does not ruin an entire room,” said Beetz.
She also laughed that they have quite a large stash of extra tiles in the back, just in case.
Beetz expects the new carpet to last another 20 years, at least.
Replacing the carpet was a huge undertaking. Beetz agonized over how all of the books were going to be moved. Luckily, she found a company in Chicago that actually had a machine that lifts and moves library bookshelves with books still in place. Even luckier, the library had the correct type of shelving units that hook into the machine and at 30 feet long, the shelves just made the machine’s length limit. The library’s trust fund covered that expense.
Finally on the to-do list was painting. Walls throughout were painted in a sand color with blue accents. “A fresh coat of paint works wonders,” she said.
Beetz said she still cannot believe the transformation.
“There are so many pretty features in this building that went unnoticed and now I think you notice them more.”
One of the most noticeable changes is the painted tray ceiling. The inverted ceiling is painted in light blue accents that draw your eye upward. “That wonderful, beautiful feature wasn’t even noticed before,” she stated.
Patrons are noticing all the changes, too. Everybody has been really pleased with it, she commented.
With a new makeover, the library is ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary. “My how time flies,” Beetz said.
An open house will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 25 for adults. Storyteller Tricia Kelly is preparing a unique story just for the celebration. Cookies and punch will be served. There will also be a puppet show on Thursday, Feb. 27 for families. And coffee and donuts will be served all week in the morning.
“I just really want everyone to stop by and see how nice the library looks,” said Beetz.