Renovation won’t stop readers



March 5, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Iola Public Library will remain a full-service library during its yearlong renovation, despite its reduced appearance.
The first step of the process begins Monday when the library closes to the public while its holdings are either moved to the western wing, where the Southeast Kansas Library System held sway, or packaged into 720 boxes to be stored.
Roger Carswell, library director, said he expected the library to be closed about one week, perhaps more.
While the library is closed, patrons can still access materials at the Flewharty-Powell Annex, directly north of the library. The house is the former home of Nancy Flew-harty and was bequeathed to the library upon her death last year. Hours there will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The annex phone is 365-3262.
Although about half of Iola’s library materials will be stored away during renovation, materials from other lending libraries can be retrieved through SeeknFind interlibrary loan.
Materials can be put on hold by accessing patron accounts at Renewals, requests and a complete list of materials already checked out are available through the site.
“We encourage them to utilize their online account because services will be otherwise limited,” said head librarian Lesa Cole.
Most patrons had an account set up when securing a library card. For those who have forgotten how to access theirs, the library is open today and until 5 p.m. and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

THE RENOVATION will be done in three phases. The first is to the main reading room, office area and to the edge of the children’s area. Next will be the genealogy and children’s departments. Lastly, in the west wing, SEKLS will re-establish itself from its relocation to North Washington Street.
When the library reopens later this month, patrons will enter from the west (currently an employee entrance) where certain collections will be available, including all young adult, fiction, large print, almost all media, including books on CD, and resources such as automotive manuals and General Education Development materials.
Seven Internet stations will also be reinstated.
What won’t be available are books on religion, psychology, languages and literature, biographies, the Kansas circulation collection and oversized books.
Access to the children’s department will remain viable through the west entrance during the first phase, which is expected to last about six months, said Leah Oswald, children’s librarian.
When Phase 2 begins, the children’s materials will be moved to the western room. The materials previously held there will be moved to their newly completed environs on the east side of the library.
Carswell said his staff and the staff of the SEKLS will work “8 to 8” for the transition, which includes relocating the massive shelving units and their contents and moving furniture and computer equipment.
During the transition, the library will not have a bonafide entrance for the handicapped, Carswell said. A portable ramp, however, is being constructed by Jim Kilby which can be pulled up to the library entrance when needed. Carswell asks that those who need it call the library at 365-5136 to request it be put in place.
For more information about the library’s renovation and its services, Carswell has started an Internet blog. Its address is It can also be accessed through the library’s Web site,

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