07/07/14 — Mount Olive's Steele Memorial Library grand opening will be July 20

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Mount Olive's Steele Memorial Library grand opening will be July 20

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 7, 2014 1:46 PM

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Steele Memorial Library Director Jerilynn Lee opens the doors at the new facility to let a reporter in, but no photos of the interior are being allowed until the library's grand opening ceremony on July 20.

MOUNT OLIVE -- After years of planning and work, a grand opening ceremony for the new Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive will be July 20 from 3 to 5 p.m.

"We hope the entire community of Mount Olive comes by that afternoon to see what a beautiful facility this is," branch director Jerilynn Lee said. Mrs. Lee said there will be a full reception, including refreshments.

Members of the library staff will be stationed around the facility to explain what each department contains.

"We are expecting a crowd," Mrs. Lee said, estimated that between 250 and 300 people will attend. No books will be checked out that day, but the library will open for business the next day at 9 a.m.

The old Steele Library will close at 3:30 p.m. on July 16 to allow ample time for the move.

The summer reading program scheduled for July 17 will be held as planned at the old train depot.

Mrs. Lee noted that the old 2,750-square-foot library on North Chestnut Street would fit into the adult leisure section in the new 23,000-square-foot library.

Construction is 99 percent finished on converting the former Belk building on West Main Street into the library's new home.

The new facility has more parking space and is closer to downtown.

The library will have a staff of about 14.

A final walk-through was held this past Wednesday, with Jackson Builders, the company doing the work, looking over the finishing touches with county officials and library staff members.

All of the shelving was delivered last Wednesday.

"We had two tractor-trailers trucks pull up, which we were not expecting until next week," Mrs. Lee said. "But this gives us more opportunity to get things done and be totally prepared for the 20th. So our shelving is in.

"Our audio/visual people were here (Thursday) so we have completely wired the auditorium for future presentations for PowerPoint shows, for movies, for whatever activities we need to do. The books will start coming in Wednesday. There will be a tractor-trailer line down this street with the opening day collection, which is valued at about $300,000."

The move into the new library will come with expanded hours -- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 until 6; on Tuesdays from 9 until 8; and on Saturdays from 9 until 3:30.

The new library will operate on a self-checkout system, Mrs. Lee pointed out, allowing patrons to choose a book and be on their way quickly.

"Of course, we will have full staff here to help and to train to use the self-checkout, and we will always be here to assist anybody who needs assistance," Mrs. Lee added.

There are study rooms for tutoring, a conference room and an auditorium that can hold 120 people.

"This auditorium is going to provide a really nice facility for the community for civic groups, for church groups, or any organization that really needs to use it," Mrs. Lee said. "We will be able to use the auditorium for visiting authors. We now have the space to have presentations for authors in the area, book signings, for any kind of programs that Goldsboro will be offering in terms of history -- we will be able to duplicate here in Mount Olive.

The library system's technical services, once housed at the Goldsboro branch office, have already moved to Steele.

All of the cataloging for all of the books for the library system will be done at Steele.

That office also will receive and ship out books through Steele.

"They also have bar code in the books because with this state-of-the-art system, this self-checkout, we are using a very modern, very innovative RFID -- radio frequency identification disk in each of our books," Mrs. Lee said. "That helps us with the checkout process and also helps us in tracking the books -- which patron has them, when they come in and when they go back out and how much they are being used. So it helps for statistical purposes in knowing which authors people are gravitating to."

The library project initially carried a price tag of $3.5 million, but the county was able to reduce the cost to about $2.5 million by using design/build and cutting some of the items in the original plan.

A library steering committee launched a grassroots fundraising campaign for the library, raising more than $350,000.

The library is named in memory of Dr. W.C. Steele, who started the first fundraiser to build a library in the 1930s, but died before it was completed. The new library sits on the site where Steele's house once stood.