Fremont’s Keene Memorial Library renovates after 50 years – The Omaha News
Omaha News

Fremont’s Keene Memorial Library renovates after 50 years – The Omaha News

By: Jackson Piercy

FREMONT, Neb. – The Keene Memorial Library, which has had its doors open to the public for the last fifty years, has gone through major renovations that have moved the library’s stock of books into the Fremont City Auditorium. 

The renovations would add over 12,500 square feet of new space, in addition to re-formatting the floorplan of the building, it would be likely completed by year’s end, according to Library Director Laura England-Biggs. 

“The city passed a $2 million bond in 2018,” England-Biggs said. “We’ve been fundraising ever since.” 

The renovations include a redesign of the floorplan, where there are distinct areas for all age groups, including soundproofing for the children’s area to allow for conversation amongst kids. The new space will include a 125-person-capacity community room with a kitchenette, an ADA-accessible elevator, and a maker space that includes everything from computers to embroidery equipment.  

Many of these changes came in events where the library’s capacity was not sufficient for the events that were being held in the original spaces. 2017’s Christmas event had to be moved into the children’s area because the auditorium was at maximum capacity. 

The Keene Memorial Library has been serving the Fremont area for over fifty years. (Photo/Jackson Piercy)

In addition to the event centers not being big enough, the floorplan did not allow for the number of books in circulation to be all out on the shelves at once. Now, under the new floorplan, sections that were not given enough space will be able to increase. For instance, the library’s Spanish section will double in size under the new floor plan. 

As the building has not been majorly updated since the 1970s, the wiring in the building was not up to par for the needs of a library currently. Due to the new renovations, the building will be entirely re-wired to enable technology access to many new parts of the building, including being able to provide laptop computers for patrons. 

In conjunction with the ADA-accessible elevator, the handicapped entrance will be placed closer to the handicapped parking spaces, and the entrance will be changed to have a zero percent grade, allowing people in wheelchairs to enter without going up a ramp. 

The renovations will also come with an expansion to the parking lot by 20 or more spaces. 

While the renovations are going on, half of the original library’s stock of books is being contained in the Fremont City Auditorium, just down the street from the original building. 

In the Library’s stead, the Fremont City Auditorium has taken up the mantle of keeping the Library afloat. (Photo/Jackson Piercy)

In the original purchase of the building, the Hazel Keene Trust purchased two houses on the block where the original building was built, allowing them to be demolished in anticipation of this renovation. 

The renovations, outside of the expansion, remain mostly interior, retaining the library’s distinctive facade. 

The Hazel Keene Memorial Library was created to replace Fremont’s previous library. That original library, known as a “Carnegie Library”, was created off a grant from steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, one in a category of many such libraries.

Post Views: 11

Source link

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video