Jackson, WY- Hundreds of people turned out Thursday to celebrate Teton County Library’s Grand Opening, enjoying a complimentary chili lunch, library tours, live music and an official ribbon cutting.
During the ribbon cutting, eyes kept flitting up to the ceiling as many eagerly awaited the illumination of “Filament Mind,” suspended threads of gossamer fiber optic cables attached to labels on the lobby walls. The one thousand labels represent the entire Dewey Decimal system. Anytime a library user searches a library catalog, anywhere in Wyoming, the art project illuminates a bundle of cables showing what topics are being queried.
“You could just see people going ooh and ahhh,” said Library Director Deb Adams, who gave the signal Thursday to light up Filament Mind. The project makes visible the community’s curiosity and hunger for knowledge. “It’s a way to show something that happens every day, but is so behind the scenes,” Adams said.
Adams was joined by Teton County Library Board President Lisa Delaney and Teton County Commission Chair Paul Vogelheim, who lauded the project for coming in on time and on budget.
“As we look around at this beautiful new addition and remodel, it reflects the spirit of partnership at many levels,” Vogelheim said. “Back in 2008, when the library staff, led by (Facilities Manager) Dail Barbour and Deb Adams, brought their $9 million project request, they had done their homework and brought a well thought-out plan. The library project was recognized as a community priority, which the voters validated with overwhelming support.”
Volgelheim also praised the library’s staff and more than 200 volunteers for providing the services that the library offers. Likewise, Delaney said that what makes the library’s addition and renovation so vibrant is all the people, who use and staff it.
“It is your spirit that makes the library come alive,” Delaney told more than 100 people, packed into the new lobby.
Indeed, Gilday Architects Principal Peggy Gilday and Project Architect John Stennis said that when designing the project they took into account more than a thousand comments from the public. Both Gilday and Stennis said they were impressed with how bright, quiet and inviting the renovated Main Wing is. Many public comments asked for more quiet places to read, more natural light and more of a connection to the outdoors, all of which the project achieved.
“It makes me want to go sit and read and reflect,” Gilday said of the renovated Main Wing.
Meanwhile, Gilday, Stennis and Adams all attributed the project being finished on time and on budget to teamwork.
“I can totally attribute that to having the perfect team,” Adams said. Library staff worked with Gilday Architects and Humphries/Poli Architects, Construction Manager GE Johnson and library project assistant Stan Zaist, as well as a multitude of mainly local sub-contractors.
After Thursday’s celebration as library staff gave free tours of the new facility, Teton County Library Foundation Executive Director Missy Falcey said she hopes people who have never used the library before will come check it out. There’s something for everyone in the renewed space, including its larger auditorium; more inviting reading room; new computer lab; public art installation and permanent nook for the ever-popular book sale organized by the Teton County Library Friends.
Library Board President Lisa Delaney noted during the ribbon cutting that she has already started shopping at the new Friends Book Nook, which offers books and a coffee cart that also serves hot tea. The ongoing book sale raises money for the library and recycles favorite reads in the community. The Friends also accept book donations at the library during regular library hours. (For Book Nook hours, visit http://www.tclib.org/friends.)
A combination of public and private funding has made the library addition and renovation possible. Voters approved the Specific Purpose Excise Tax, beginning in 2008, to pay for the project; the Teton County Library Foundation has raised money to contribute a margin of excellence beyond what public dollars alone could provide.
In the library’s Main Wing, donations have made it possible to include a fireplace and locally-made, craftsman-style furniture in the reading room. The library’s public art piece, “Filament Mind,“ was funded entirely through contributions to the Teton County Library Foundation from the Teton County Library Friends and other donors. Private dollars also are funding state-of-the-art audio visual equipment; public computers for adults, teens and children; acoustical tiles for good sound attenuation in the auditorium; and comfortable seating in the reading room and auditorium. The public-private partnership has created an extraordinary center for information, life-long learning, literature and community.
In addition to the private funds donated to pay for the Filament Mind by Brian W. Brush, Yong Ju Lee, and Noa Younse, the library architects and construction manager donated their own resources and time to realize the project.
“We want to thank Gilday Architects and Humphries/Poli Architects, and Construction Manager GE Johnson for a considerable donation of resources and pro-bono time dedicated to the installation of the public art project,” said Adams. “This creative enterprise would not have been possible without their generous contribution to the project.”
Moreover, Adams lauded Carrie Geraci, the library’s Public Art Coordinator for coordinating the selection of an art installation that sparks imagination and intellectual curiosity. “Given her current and past experience with public art initiatives, she was uniquely qualified to administer the public art commissioning process for the library addition and renovation,” Adams said.
For information about the library addition and renovation project, visit: http://www.tclib.org/addition. To learn about the library’s 75th Anniversary: http://www.tclib.org/75. Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/TetonLibrary or like us on http://www.facebook.com/TCLibrary to get weekly event information. You can also sign up for our monthly events e-calendar at http://www.tclib.org/enews.
Teton County Library offers open and equal access to information, literature and ideas…to encourage a lifetime of learning, to strengthen our evolving community, to inspire us all.