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Harrison County’s Public Library is more than just new

The newly-renovated Harrison County Public Library is an impressive facility and a far cry from the library I used to visit as a young girl.
That old brick building in downtown Clayton had such a musty odor! And although our library had a small table and chairs for children to use, I never wanted to stay there to read; it just wasn’t inviting. It was also so old it had no plumbing. The librarian, who luckily lived in a house next to the library, would have to go home whenever nature called. Guess you couldn’t expect too much from a town so small that it still has no traffic lights.
My love for reading was developed at an early age. I recall my mother taking me to the library on a somewhat regular basis so I could check out books to take home and read. As I got older, I was allowed to ride my bike or walk to the library, which was less than a mile away but as a child seemed a lot farther.
Choosing just the right books took time, and there were many selections I checked out more than once.
Through the years, I visited the library less and less, but my love for books and joy of reading never wavered. Instead, I began buying books, or rather my parents bought them for me, at least in the beginning. Most of my early purchases were made through book orders at school. As soon as the teacher would hand out the flyer, I’d eagerly read the snippet about each selection and would circle the books I wanted, which was often nearly all of them. Then I’d have to pare down my wish list.
Now, as an adult, I trade books with friends or purchase them at several places, including yard sales, book stores and online through the Internet. Unfortunately, my time for reading is much more limited than it used to be yet my stack of books to read continues to grow.
So as someone who rarely goes to the library anymore, I was somewhat astounded by the transformation that has taken place at the county’s public library. When I moved here in 1978, everything was located in the old Carnegie Building on Beaver Street. It had the same musty smell as the library I often visited from my childhood and it wasn’t very enticing. Wooden tables and chairs were available to patrons but you wouldn’t want to sit there too long. Again, not comfortable.
As space became an issue, the library knew it had to do something. So when an old bank building became available, expansion was made possible. And through that addition, the Harrison County Public Library was able to blossom into a modern-day facility.
I hadn’t been in the Capitol Avenue part of the library for at least a couple of years until last month, so I had not seen the transformation that had taken place.
Nestled throughout the two-story structure, much of which is carpeted, are plush upholstered chairs and end tables and lamps. I can imagine finding a book, curling up in one of the chairs and forgetting that I wasn’t at home reading. Modern, electronic ‘rolling’ bookshelves allow more books to be placed in limited space.
Besides the inviting decor, the remodeled library also has no unpleasant odors!
And if you want something in addition to books, there are newspapers from several cities, a variety of magazines, movies in both DVD and VHS format, children’s programs and computers to use. You can even log on to the Internet!
My hometown built a new library several years ago. I can see it from my parents’ house, but I’ve never been inside. I wonder if any of the books I checked out as a youngster are still on the shelves.
If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the Harrison County Public Library, check it out. They’re having an open house Saturday, April 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. Remember, reading is knowledge.