Key Center Library renovation brings more technology, community pride

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The renovation of the Key Center Library’s lobby evolved from a project to install a digital video disk dispensers.

Key Peninsula residents were treated to more than just a magic show and a little Home-grown bluegrass music at the Key Center Library open house Saturday.

They saw what more than a quarter of a million dollars in improvement has added to their community.

What began as a modest attempt to add computers, computer work space and a movie dispensing unit evolved into a community project that renovated the only public library serving the more than 19,000 people living on the Key Peninsula.

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The library’s brick front facade was knocked down to add 150 more square feet to the lobby.

“This is a heavily-used library and a vital resource to the community,” said Sally Porter Smith of the Pierce County Library system. “This gives a community access to computers… a community that doesn’t have much access to computers.

“Think of all the things you have to go online to do,” Smith said. “People use it to apply for jobs. They use it to seek social services.”

She was especially proud of how quickly the community came together to help. What had started as a quick program to add more computers turned into a 150-square foot expansion of the library’s lobby, the installation of a digital video disk dispenser —the movie tower as they call it — to provide easy access to high demand DVDs and more laptop work space.

The county library system shouldered $250,000 of the project’s cost and community groups and donors contributed another $43,000, according to Smith. At the Key Center Library this was something to crow about.

The library staff busily bustled in and out of the library’s lone meeting room with plates of snacks for their guests. Pierce County District 7 councilmember Stan Flemming held court with local business owners and community leaders. Friends of the Key Center Library set up a small table by the front doors of the library to answer questions.

There was a spring in every one’s step it seemed. And it was not only because of the music Rusty Roots, a bluegrass band out of Home, Wash., was playing.

In the children’s corner laughter was heard as Jeff Evans, an entertainer from Olympia, was putting on an interactive magic show.

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Jeff Evans, an entertainer from Olympia, Wash., had the attention of his young audience.

“You have to pay attention,” Evans tells his young audience as he draws out a red twine for a trick.

“Watch my hands, watch the rope and especially watch me,” he adds.

The children were delighted for the magic show while their parents and grandparents curiously looked on as a resident used the movie tower. Questions of how the dispenser works were quickly answered by the staff. Photos were even snapped. There was pride in the dozens of residents who showed up.

In the end this was a celebration of a community and as Smith said “we so appreciate what everyone did to help.”

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Pierce County councilmember Stan Flemming, left, greeted residents dropping in at the Key Center Library open house while Roger Gemelle of Rusty Roots tuned his mandolin.

For a photo slideshow go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmontesino/sets/72157632781930547/

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