Picture a 14,000 square foot facility that offers citizens cutting-edge technology access, displays of local art, community meeting spaces, comfortable reading areas, a coffee shop, a well-stocked used book store and other amenities.
The Regional Library and Arts Center is a project of the Jefferson-Blount Public Library Foundation. The Jefferson-Blount Public Library Foundation, formed in 2008, is all-volunteer and includes citizens of the Warrior, Hayden, and Morris communities. Their mission is to provide a state-of-the-art Regional Library and Arts Center and revitalize the quality of life in the underserved region.
ONCE BULLETS NOW BOOKS
Currently, the Library Foundation is focused on retrofitting an old National Guard armory into a library that will provide access to a variety of arts, literacy, and cultural opportunities, as well as workforce and technology assistance. The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, through a recent grant, is helping fund the installation of the facade, insulation, roofing, and HVAC system, allowing operations to begin!
Gus Heard- Hughes, Senior Program Officer at the Community Foundation, says, “We are thrilled to team with the The Regional Library and Arts Center and support this project. We have already seen the impressive amount of progress and hope that this facility continues to develop and truly make an impact.”
The center will provide communities in North Jefferson and West Blount Counties with access to unprecedented resources and opportunities. It will house an extensive source of periodicals, reference books, children’s’ books, and books for young adults and adults. In addition to print materials, the library will feature electronic materials, eBooks, audio books, DVDs, and education resources. And the Arts Center will provide space for arts and crafts classes, gallery shows, performances, and theatrical events.
COMMUNITY COMING TOGETHER
As Anne Jolly, president of the Library Foundation explained, “The Regional Library and Arts Center is a generational legacy for our area. It will be a gathering spot – a multi-community hub – through which six rural communities can build a sense of larger community. It will provide a source of information, recreation, culture, and entertainment for our citizens.”
According to Jolly the center will make arts and culture more accessible for the community. Jolly says, “Because of our funders, our communities will be able to access the visual and performing arts, and children from all communities will come together to learn, paint, work, and perform together. Citizens in these underserved communities, most of which are low income, can access technology and up to date library resources through this facility. The Regional Library and Arts Center will be a place where we create the citizens for tomorrow.”