After many months of anxious anticipation, local residents and officials finally saw a long-time dream and long-term effort come to fruition as the ribbon was snipped in front of the newly renovated Warren P. Sewell Memorial Library in Bremen on Friday, Nov. 30.
The crowd gathered to celebrate the reopening of the library buzzed with excitement and awed in wonder as they entered the building, greeted by a soothing, yet modern green motif, which is continued on the walls and furniture throughout the venue.
The children’s area is perfect for little hands and feet with child-sized furniture, including tables and chairs, a listening station, and even a computer area. Children are also treated to a mural of animals in the reading area, as well as some very modern light fixtures.
Visitors on Friday took full advantage of the library’s open floor plan as they toured the facility, which boasts free WiFi, laptops available for in-library checkout, a conference room, study rooms, a multi-purpose room, and a tea and coffee bar.
Patrons to the library are bound to enjoy the spacious interior and natural light that spills in from sky lights and two walls that are completely made up of windows. Visitors on Friday, were excited about all the new bells and whistles the library now boasts.
“I think it’s exciting that Bremen has such a technologically advanced library,” said Ann Crim, a member of the Tallapoosa Planning Commission and Tallapoosa Historical Society. “This will afford our community the opportunity to be able to experience the same level of educational materials that are available to residents in more populous areas. It’s an outstanding advancement in the library system for our community.”
Haralson County Chamber of Commerce President Jennie English said the new facility will help foster a sense of community among residents as well as enable them to connect to the world through technology.
“What a library means to a community is greater than people realize,” English said. “This is a community gathering place, and the technology housed here gives people a place to stay connected. Information really is power, so there is a wealth of potential power right here for our community to access.”
Bremen Mayor Sharon Sewell emphasized the positive impact the library could have on literacy.
“We’ve been working very hard for several years on literacy in Haralson County,” she said, “to make sure everyone can read. So what a great opportunity it is for our community to have a facility like this.”
West Georgia Regional Library Director Roni Tewksbury highlighted some of the new technology that will enable patrons to stay connected.
“Libraries aren’t exactly what they used to be. We still have books, but we also have audio books, WiFi, computers, and we now have e-books, and we’ll be offering more in the future,” Tewksbury said. “So use your library, and watch us grow.”
Former WGRL Director Jim Cooper, who was director when the ceremonial ground breaking took place at the library earlier this year, said he was very proud of the hard work everyone has continued to put into getting the library renovated and operational.
“This is a wonderful library renovation, and the staff and the architects and designers have all done a wonderful job,” he said. “It’s amazing that an existing building can be transformed this way. I think the community is going to love this.”
The renovations to the library were implemented by Rutledge Alcock Architects, LLC of Decature, Ga., and Lovvorn Construction, Inc. of Atlanta, Ga. The cost was $1.8 million, with $506,500 provided from local Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds and the rest provided by a state grant. The renovation added 5,000 square feet to the library, bringing it to a total of 12,500 square feet.
The library was first built in 1974 at a cost of $124,000, half of which was donated by the late Warren P. Sewell and the other half acquired from the state with the help of former Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives the late Tom Murphy. The library’s first renovation took place in 1989, adding 2,000 square feet to the original 3,500 square feet. The funds for the library were provided by the state, with the matching funds provided by the Warren P. and Ava Sewell Foundation.
The library is now open for business Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 7 p.m., Friday noon to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The library is closed on Sunday. For more information about the library and library programs, call 770-537-3937.