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Carnegie Library is more than just books.

Byline: HOLLY KEE hkee@localsouthernnews.com

For over a century, Marion's Carnegie Library has welcomed thousands of visitors annually, but not just to borrow books.

The original library was built with the help of an $18,000 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation and housed just over 1,000 volumes.

After several renovations and additions, the present library occupies over 12,000 square feet. The library's collection now exceeds 75,000 items available to more than 9,000 registered users and the nearly 150,000 annual visitors.

Along with books, Carnegie Library has an automated circulation system, multimedia workstations, a public meeting room with computer workstations, and even a full-service coffee bar on the first floor.

The library is not just about books anymore. For those looking for something to do, the library is a good place to start. A full events calendar features activities for those of all ages including interactive art classes, garden work days, a Lego club, story hours, Saturday teen games, and historical presentations. There's even a Tai Chi class on Monday mornings.

All of the library's program are free and open to the public.

Shelley Hudspeth, the coordinator of children's services, said this has been the best summer in recent years for the summer reading program, with 400 participants.

"Our internal goal was to beat last year," she said. "We did that."

Hudspeth said the library has also hosted several popular programs, including a "Star Wars Day" with over 100 guests.

"We are planning to do that again," she said.

"Our programs with animals are also popular," she said, noting an upcoming event that will host Free Again Wildlife Rehab on birds of prey.

Marion residents can obtain a library card with proof of residence and a valid photo identification. Children ages 5-15 can get their own card but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian with proof of residence. Illinois state law allows nonresidents to obtain a library card for a fee.

While the library and its departments have a budget from the City, much of the support comes from Friends of Marion Carnegie Library, a group of volunteers who sponsor book sales, summer reading programs, and library events and activities.

"They gave each department $500 for our summer reading programs," said Hudspeth. "They also helped purchase the new flooring in the teen section."

The group accepts charitable donations and is always looking for new members.

Membership dues are $5 for adults, $2 for students ages 12-18, $7 for a family, and $25 for a club, association, or business.

The library is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. For more information about the library, or to view the monthly newsletter, The Container, visit the website at www.marioncarnegielibrary.org.

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jul 13, 2018
Words:481
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