New Durbin Library Nears Completion

The new Durbin Library will be open this spring, and librarian Nancy Egan said she is looking forward to opening the doors after five years of fundraising and construction.

“I get asked whenever people are around, ‘so how’s it going?’ ‘when are we going to have that library up?’ But it takes a long time to raise $300,000. It’s not an easy task and to say that we only have 20% left to go, that’s pretty good,” Egan said.

Almost everything is in place for the opening, planned for May. When the doors open, the library’s kitchen will not yet be complete, but it will be a relief from the cramped space in the storefront next to Kinder’s Market on Main Street that is being used as the current library.

“This can be used so many more ways than this small little library that’s just a storefront on the main thoroughfare here.”

“I’m looking forward to the space to have meetings, to have community events and then also we’ll have a lot more room for DVDs, our books on tape. Though we will be keeping the same computers and computer desks, there will be room to expand that.

“There will be a chance for community services to meet with people in the library. There will be a chance to have a little bit of privacy. And we will be paving and putting in a sidewalk so that we will be accessible. In this location we’re not accessible to anyone who’s in a wheelchair and that will benefit some of the older community members up here in Durbin and Bartow and Frank.”

“Besides that it will be air conditioned in the summer and it will be heated consistently in the winter and all that will be a real benefit,” Egan said.

While construction has been slow-going as it has been reliant on individual donations and money raised from bingo, cake walks and grants from local and state agencies and organizations, Egan said the up-side is that there has been a tremendous amount of community involvement in the process.

“It started very, very humbly you might say because we didn’t know if we’d even have the money to put up a shelf or just put a roof on the place,” Egan said.

“It’s taken some time but we’re looking forward to completing it and being able to get in there and provide library services for the community.”

“We’ve used a lot of local labor, both paid and unpaid, and on a volunteer basis. And then we have several people that we call on it seems like whenever we need a little something. When we need somebody with a pick-up or somebody to haul something for us.”

“So we’ve been really really glad to have that help and it really couldn’t have been done without that.”

Local contractors and Pocahontas County High School’s construction class have all worked together.

“It’s been a nice opportunity for local contractors to work with each other too. People that are normally in competition with each other, it’s amazing when they get together, they have all these discussions about what the newest projects are and what they’ve tried and what they haven’t tried.

“It was also was quite a learning experience for the construction class at the high school that came down, were able to do the inner walls and they also did some shelving. All along it’s been kind of a good experience for everyone involved … so we do have a lot of community support and we really appreciate that.”

Egan said some of the bricks and windows were from the Durbin school, which was closed, and the library also hopes to have a mural depicting the region’s history.

“We would like to have a mural on the wall that depicts some of the cultural history of the area with railroading and lumbering being the genesis of the influx of people in the area. We’re trying to arrange that now,” Egan said.

Story By

Kelly Taber

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