Renovating the library
To help familiarize the El Dorado community with the upcoming renovation project, the Bradford Memorial Library held an open house on Sunday afternoon.
“We want to celebrate the library,” began Bill Kloeblen, chair of the library board. “As many of you know, this library has served the people of Butler County for well over 100 years. I’d like to introduce one of our representatives, Mayor of El Dorado Mike Fagg to speak with us.”
“As a life-long El Doradoan, I take pride in our library,” began Fagg. “I’d like to thank everyone involved with the library. These are the kinds of things that make things go. We talk about the city and where it’s going now. I think the cornerstone of that is the library. We’ve done a great job up to now, and I think we’ll have a great time moving forward. It’s about the people. The library is about to continue its next chapter. I think we’ve got a real great leadership that is going to really make a difference.”
State Representative Will Carpenter was the next to speak.
“It’s great to have a nice turnout,” began Carpenter. “We appreciate you coming out on such a beautiful day. I prefer to call the library an informational center nowadays. They have changed so much since I was a kid. They have grown to embrace the technology and everything and that’s a good thing for a lot of people. I want to introduce County Commissioner Mike Wheeler.”
“I would like to thank everyone for being here,” began Wheeler. “Even though this library is in the city, the county does help to provide a service for the library through the Outreach service for seniors through the Department of Aging. Eva Powers, the one who runs the service out of the library, told me that anywhere from 15,000-16,000 books, CDs and video tapes are lent out over a year’s time. What a great program – especially for those at the hospitals and the senior centers or for those who are home bound. The county is glad that we can provide the funding for that service. We want to see the library be successful and I’m sure they will be.”
Kloeblen then introduced special guest Frank Waugh
“Most of you know Frank,” began Kloeblen. “He grew up in El Dorado–went to El Dorado schools, graduated from the University of Kansas. I’d like to introduce Frank Waugh.”
“Pretty much most of my childhood was spent here in El Dorado,” began Waugh, a weatherman from KAKE TV. “All but about two years was spent here in El Dorado. I’m a product of Washington Elementary just a few blocks from here. I graduated from the high school in 2004. I even lived in the same house the entire time. The library was situated between that home and school and we grew up in a time where we would walk to school. Often times that took us through the library. Sometimes literally through the library. Especially after the front entrance was changed. We even got in trouble for doing this a few times, but we thought it was cool as a grade school kid to do. We would go in the bottom door, walk through the basement, use the elevator and go out the front door. “
Waugh went on to explain how the library changed his life.
“I started to think about the library and a lot of fond memories came to mind,” he said. “Reading is something a lot of us take for granted. I learned how to read at Washington Elementary in Mrs. Fuller’s first grade class. Reading expanded my imagination and it boosted my ACT score where other areas were critically low. I went to the University of Kansas and got my meteorology degree. In recent years, reading has taken on a whole new role for me. “
He went on to explain how after he graduated from college, he took a job as a weekend weatherman at a local television station. Eventually he would want to get into a week day position and he moved his wife and himself to a news station in South Bend, Ind. However, he soon discovered this new position was not just him telling the weather, he was also required him to read the news on air via a Teleprompter.
“You have to look natural,” he explained. “But you’re seeing these words move and you don’t have any control over how fast they’re moving. You have to pronounce words that you maybe know the word, but you’ve never spelled it. I can tell you that reading, over the past several years, has really influenced my career. It’s taken me to a level that I really could not have done otherwise. Without the solid reading background that would not have been possible. I owe a lot of my career right now to having that foundation of reading and part of that foundation is this library.”
He even pointed out the changing characteristics of the library.
“The world is changing and so is the way we watch TV,” he said. “Chances are you’re not going home and sitting down every night to watch TV like you used to 20, 30, even 40 years ago to watch the evening news. Now, you get it on your phone, on the Internet, on your iPad. You’re surrounded by it all the time. People aren’t using libraries like they used to. This is all the more reason for renovating, making it modern and making it a place that is relevant. Staying on the cutting edge of technology is important. El Dorado would exist without a library, but it wouldn’t be the same town without a library. It’s that important.”
Kloeblen was able to outline of the intentions for the renovation project for the library as well.
“Frank mentioned the changing nature of libraries,” began Kloeblen. “A lot of our e-books and iPads would indicate we’re already in that business. One part of our project will be an expanded and redone computer facility, which will be in kind of the same area, but the existing space was kind of taken over and now it will be designed for that. Our number one item is the parking lot, which we’re going to expand and it’s always important to get people in here. We will be asking for the public assistance. Our project comes from about two-thirds public and some money that the library has saved and the other one-third we’re going to have to ask the citizens and the businesses of El Dorado for assistance. I know first hand that the citizens are extraordinarily giving and helpful. We appreciate everyone’s attendance.”
To learn how to donate for the library renovation, pledge support at www.bradfordlibrary.info or at Bradford Memorial Library, 611 S. Washington St, El Dorado, KS 67042.