By Woodrow Polston
Members and visitors of the Vandalia Branch Library will soon have a lot more parking spaces available for their convenience. Work has been underway to expand the existing parking lot for weeks, with occasional setbacks because of the weather. Audrain County Library District Director Christal Bruner said that there was much excitement about the project.
“We are excited about our capital improvement project at our Vandalia Branch Library,” said Bruner. “We have been working on the project for at least a year or so doing research, etc. The project includes the back parking lot and replacement of a small section of concrete at the front entrance of the library building. Heimer Construction LLC won the bid for the construction work. Cost of the project is $80,469. We did not receive a grant to assist us with the project. The library board each year when we plan for our annual budget has a line item for capital improvement projects,” she added.
Vandalia Branch Manager, Crystal McCurdy, said, “Once they finished the parking lot, they were starting on the front. The existing concrete at the front doors wasn’t sloped correctly, so water pools in the entrance. We had someone come out this winter and cut a groove in the concrete. That helped to route the water out into the grass, so it wasn’t puddling as bad in front of the doors. They are going to tear out the old concrete and replace it with a good sloping entry to the building,” she added.
Apart from regular members visiting the library to read and check out books, there are numerous other events and programs that can draw in a crowd. Bruner explained that the new parking space will accommodate everyone during such times.
“The paving of the lot will provide the library district with extended parking for programs, our patrons, and library staff. It will be used mostly for overflow parking for programs. We have conduit installed on the lot for the installation of a light base and pole. We are not planning at this time to put stripes down on the lot, but that may change in the future,” she added.
The Vandalia Branch Library also conducts off-site activities for local book enthusiasts. Modeled after the Mexico Library’s program, they have been doing a “Book Walk” at Tri-County Park for several years now. They are looking forward to getting some new titles ready for this year.
“Ruth Nation, one of our Vandalia Library assistants, has been the point person for our book walk in the Tri-County Park in Vandalia,” said Bruner. “This will be the third year for the book walk. Ruth has gotten lots of community support with donations of the poles, lumber and books for the book walk. We have had lots of interest and we hope more families will come to the park and enjoy the lively stories. We are hoping to have the first book installed and ready for viewing in May. We would like to thank the many volunteers and organizations that have donated items for this. We would also like to thank the City of Vandalia for their permission to install the book walk at the park.