Expansion to promote creativity

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Editor&8217;s note: This part of a series on the upcoming bond issue.

By Coy O’Neal

The Selma Times-Journal

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With the upcoming bond issue, voters will find a $1.4 million library expansion on the list of projects that the bond would fund.

Kaleidoscope &8212; a full-scale traveling art workshop for the young and the young-at-heart, sponsored by Hallmark, was once popular in Selma, according to Selma-Dallas County Public Library Director Becky Nichols.

“The children of Selma are our greatest joy,” Nichols said. “Anything that enhances their life experience in Selma, in Dallas County, is part of the mission of the library…but we want what is best for the community of Selma. We have to look at this as a broad idea.”

After 2003, Kaleidoscope no longer came to Selma, and Nichols said the idea occurred to her to recreate Kaleidoscope for Selma residents to enjoy year-round.

The Kaleidoscope workshop had two segments. One room was meant to inspire children by allowing their senses to be stimulated creatively. The other room allowed children to explore their creative side fully and without limitation.

Nichols had an architect draft a plan for an addition to the library that would have two large, colorful activity rooms housed in a tower complete with flags. The workshop space would be fully equipped, and would operate as a hands-on museum with a gallery of created art. The rooms would be used for a variety of activities such as puppet shows and crafts.

Nichols showed the draft to Mayor James Perkins Jr. after it was completed. Nothing more came of it until the bond issue arose, and Nichols was pleasantly surprised to find out the library expansion was one of the projects on the agenda.

“There are three words I’d to use to describe [how I feel],” Nichols said. “Delighted, surprised, and concerned.”

Nichols said while she would be delighted to have the expansion come to fruition, she has concerns about the costs of maintenance that would come with an expanded building, including the utility bill. Currently, the library pays one-third of the utility costs that total around $75,000 per year, splitting it with the city and county.