More than just books – Durbin Library and Community Center will have it all
With the building under roof and all work moved to the interior, the Durbin Library and Community Center is nearing completion after nearly 10 years of planning and fundraising.
“All the inside walls are framed up, but right now, we’re working with contractors for the electrical and heating/cooling,” librarian Nancy Egan said. “We’re trying to get as local as we can and most of the contractors that we have talked to are very cooperative as far as knowing that we’re working in a different way, that we don’t have a general contractor.”
The project is truly a community effort, with the majority of funding and construction coming from volunteers in or with ties to Durbin and Pocahontas County.
“The roof and the foundation have been paid for, but all the other labor has been volunteer, so far,” Egan said.
Although the building is up and ready for interior work, the library is still searching for funds to complete the center. The building will act as the library as well as a community center where people can offer classes and use the space for parties or other gatherings.
“We may also be getting a grant from the Library Commission and we have another grant that might work in our children’s section,” Egan said.
To assist with searching for grants, the Durbin Library hired VISTA Meghan Knapp, of Eureka, Illinois. Knapp said she is excited to work with the library and to assist in anyway she can.
“I’ve always loved libraries,” she said. “Being from a rural community in Illinois, I know that for us, the library was really important. It was a spot that everybody could gather and enjoy the books, and learn new tasks in workshops. I thought this was a perfect way to do that in West Virginia.”
Along with the existing materials at the current library, the new center will have computers from the Bartow-Frank-Durbin volunteer fire department computer lab. In 2010, the BFD was awarded 10 computers through Future Generations WV. The new library is located in front of the firehouse, which will give easy access to the lab and also make it easier to move computers to the new location, if needed.
“We’re working together on it,” Egan explained. “I believe, right now, they’re [BFD] thinking of keeping a percentage and then moving some over. Of course, it depends on how much room I have there. We’re definitely having the community room ready for computers if they want to move some over, and I’m also setting up for classes. I’m very aware that we want to have some computer classes in there.”
Egan said Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation is also planning to offer classes and events at the center.
The new facility will be able to offer much more to the community of Durbin and those adjacent, but Egan says the current site has resources the community may not be aware are available.
“We have some things to check out that are not necessarily just books and DVDs,” she said. “We check out fishing poles and we have a guitar back there. There really is a big collection of things that teachers or resource people can use. I have the one guitar but I think there’s five of them within the libraries, and we can gather them all in one place if somebody wants to do a guitar class.”
Egan added that the libraries also have GPS, telescopes and two egg incubators available for the public to use.
It has been a busy and very successful year, Egan said, and with the one-year anniversary of the new building’s barn raising coming in May, she is planning a celebration for volunteers to attend on the 19th of that month.
“We hope to have people come back that started at the very beginning of the project,” Egan said. “It should be really fun. It’s like a reunion of all the people that worked on it. There’s a lot of groups that have volunteered work, and we’re just waiting for the proper time [to thank them].”
Along with volunteer hours and monetary donations, the library has also received donations of shelving from the Osteopathic School in Lewisburg. Students in Duane Gibson’s carpentry class at Pocahontas County High School donated shelves they made and continue to offer assistance with the building.
One of the most well-known fundraisers for the library was the purchase of old bricks from the Durbin School building. The bricks were purchased to be part of the building to combine the old and the new.
“We were going to have them around the entrance, but they’re not in as good a shape as we would have hoped,” Egan said. “We are planning on doing some major planters and things with the bricks because we really want to keep that connection with it.”
The building committee meets once a month at the library to discuss the project and to monitor its progress.
To view photographs of the building project, visit the Durbin Library and Community Building Facebook page.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org