Renovated Nola Brantley library offers more seating, local history

awoolen@macon.comNovember 13, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- The newly opened Nola Brantley Memorial Library now has many more cozy spots to sit and read a book.

Thanks to 2006 SPLOST funds and an extra 5,000 square feet, the library had room to add more seating, a new conference room and a bigger space for a room dedicated to local history.

A large Smartboard on wheels called an iRover2 may be used for children’s activities, a teen night or meetings.

“We doubled the size of the local history room,” library director Mark Bohnstedt said.

Security cameras, 32 of them, will be installed in every corner of the library along with monitors near the front desk to keep an eye on what is going on.

Though the walls are bare right now, he has asked a local art group to put up some paintings around the building.

The renovation cost $1.9 million and took a year to complete, Bohnstedt said.

The library reopened last week.

Reference books from car repair manuals to an encylopedia of the Middle Ages are available and still used on a regular basis.

“People still use libraries,” he said.

Bohnstedt said the format of how books are read might be changing, but people are still reading.

“It used to be clay tablets, then scroll and then books,” he said.

Youth fiction has become popular and now has a dedicated space at Nola Brantley.

In the corner are graphic novels, including one the popular TV show is based on, “The Walking Dead.”

Bohnstedt hopes this new area dedicated just for teenagers will boost attendance among the 12-18 age range. He plans on having programs twice a month aimed at those children by hosting a Wii game night as well as a Smartboard activity.

Attendance at the library has been steadily increasing every year.

Bohnstedt estimated about 1,000 people a day visit the library.

Aside from books, there are 28 public-use desktop computers with Internet access, and users with a library card can check out one of 10 Chromebooks to use while in the library.

Valorie Hawkins was in the library almost as soon as the doors opened to browse the bookshelves.

She usually comes to check out books and check her email two-to-three times a week.

“I think it looks great,” Hawkins said.

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