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October 02, 2008 3:02 am

New Cody library opens Saturday

Written by Tribune Staff

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Under the watchful eye of “Old Yellow Nose,” Park County Library Circulation Manager Pat Baumhover works to ready Cody's new library for its grand opening. Pictured is the facility's front desk. “Old Yellow Nose,” was painted by Cody artist Paul Clymer, the husband of County Library Director Francis Clymer. Tribune photo by CJ Baker

Don't bother asking Park County Libraries Director Frances Clymer for her favorite part of the new Park County Library.

“I'm excited about everything,” Clymer says.

However, you can find your own favorite feature on Saturday.

The library will host everyone and anyone for a grand opening Oct. 4, from 3-8 p.m. (see related story).

There should be room.

The new facility, located in the lower level of the Park County Complex (formerly known as the Marathon Building) is about 27,000 square feet. That's nearly double the 15,000 feet in the old library, and Clymer estimates there's three times the seating.

In the expanded space, there are plenty of added features.

For the first time, the library will house a section specifically dedicated to teenagers. The room is equipped with young adult books, a widescreen TV, and a DVD player. The room is conveniently located next to the audio-visual collection.

Groups should have room for gatherings — there's space for 90 folks in a large meeting room. A 12-person room is also available, along with several smaller ones.

Internet access will be available on 28 or so public computers (about twice as many as before), and wireless access is available throughout the facility.

Snacks and beverages can also be purchased at a new cafe, tentatively dubbed, “The Biblio Bistro.” The plan is for the cafe to eventually be run by students and staff in the Northwest College Food and Hospitality Program.

Despite all the newness, “We're re-using everything that we can,” Clymer said. For example, all of the shelving in the adult department is from the old building.

That facility, located on Sheridan Avenue has been closed to the public since Aug. 16.

Over the past six weeks, the library has been weeding out dilapidated and unused titles in its collections, moving its 76,000 items to the new location on Heart Mountain Street, and “cleaning out stuff in every corner of the building,” Clymer said.

“I think it's been very odd,” she said. “We're here to serve the public and there's no public.”

Clymer said staff members have told her flat-out, “This is not much fun without people.”

Starting Monday, Oct. 6, the library will resume regular hours.

The Park County Commission has not decided what they will do with the old structure downtown. Several groups have requested its use.

Last Tuesday, the Commission lent itself up to $1.3 million to pay the library's final construction bills. That money will be paid back as the rest of the one-cent capital facilities tax continues to come into county coffers.

The library project's financial advisors had projected that the county would have to borrow money months ago, but the cap tax has been coming in faster than expected and the construction bills came in a little slower.

All told, the new facility will cost $5.8 million — $2.2 million coming from the cap tax, $2.25 million from the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board, $1 million from Park County's reserves, and $300,000 from the Library Foundation.

Clymer stresses that the new library is intended to be exactly what its title suggests — a Park County Library.

"Our goal is provide services to everyone in the county,” she said. “It isn't just about Cody.”