WEIR - Read a book to a child and you can make their day, teach a child to read and you give them a lifetime of adventure. This spin on an old adage is an apt motto for the Weir Public Library, who has had a storybook couple of months.
Located at 111 E. Main, the library celebrated its ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening the evening of May 24, with refreshments and a look at the new facility. While a public library has existed in Weir since 1896, in 1994 the building that housed the library caught fire and burned down. Since then, the library had been housed in an old catholic church, which itself was in need of repair and becoming unsafe.
Library Director Katherine Bandy said the library board diligently began saving money and fundraising, making slow but steady progress. Then the library got a gift that really turned things around. CBW Bank offered to pay for a new building and a place to put it, right next to the bank in the heart of downtown.
The next chapter in this community-driven narrative unfolded on June 28, when the local Baxter Springs Masonic Lodge #71 brought a sizable donation of over 150 books and DVDS to the library. Mayor Taylor Gravatt was present to accept the gift, along with Director Bandy, from Mason Thom Gimple. Gimple said the masons knew the immensely powerful role a public library can play in a small community. He said they also understood the struggle rural libraries face.
During the delivery, a group of local youngsters were taking advantage of one of the many board games that available for play at the library.
“This is what it’s all about,” Gimple said. “A positive place for the kids to hang out and have fun.”
Bandy said the games were made available thanks to the generosity of a local resident. The resident just felt their games might as well get some use when they weren’t playing them, and every so often comes down and changes out the ones at library with new ones.