News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

July 17, 2012

Vigo library renovations continue to take shape

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Public Library continues working toward a massive renovation of its downtown branch that will include new security and an automated checkout system.

The library board chose Monday night to further investigate bids it received from several vendors seeking to install new floor covering, new surveillance cameras and do other work toward the renovations. Wide differences in some of the bid prices led the board to suspect some of the bids may have included additional work or been incomplete.

Renovations at the downtown branch will include new floor covering in the lobby, meeting rooms and computer lab. The renovations will also include demolition of an interior wall, installing security cameras and a paging system.

The cost for that work is expected to be around $200,000, said Nancy Dowell, library director.

If all goes according to plan, the library should be ready to launch its new, automated charging and returning system before the end of this year. The system will allow patrons to check out and return materials without the help of a librarian. It will also include improved security, including new anti-theft gates at the public exits and entrances to the building.

The board voted in January to order the new equipment from 3M Library Systems of St. Paul, Minn., at a cost of $187,000.

• Meanwhile, the library board voted Monday night to purchase scrolling electronic signs to be placed on the face of the two existing signs outside the library – one at the Poplar Street entrance and the other at Seventh and Walnut streets.

The digital signs, which will be in color, will announce library events, hours and other information and will cost about $25,900, Dowell said.

• Also Monday, Dowell announced that the Wiley High School Class of 1962, under the leadership of Frank Volkers, has raised more than $3,000 to maintain the former high school’s cupola, which is located on South Seventh Street near the library’s Walnut Street entrance. Wiley High School, which closed in 1971, was located where the library stands today, and the cupola remains a reminder of the former school.

• Dowell told the board that the library received a $11,200 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to pay for the March 2013 “Big Read.” The book chosen for the next “big read” is Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer.” The Big Read planning committee chose the book to coincide with 2013 being dubbed “the year of the river” in Terre Haute.

The book selected for the 2012 Big Read was Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” No grants were received for the 2012 Big Read program.

“We’re very pleased that we received a grant this year,” Dowell told the board. The grant will help pay for program materials and free copies of the book, she said. “It goes a long way.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or

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    March 12, 2010