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New-look Delhi library wows users

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Delhi's Ashley Stillmack and her son Callen (2) enjoy some time at the new-look Norfolk County Public Library Delhi Branch on Tuesday. After months of anticipation, the $1.7 million update was unveiled to the public with an official grand opening expected in the coming weeks. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

Delhi's Ashley Stillmack and her son Callen (2) enjoy some time at the new-look Norfolk County Public Library Delhi Branch on Tuesday. After months of anticipation, the $1.7 million update was unveiled to the public with an official grand opening expected in the coming weeks. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

DELHI, ON - 

With almost double its former square footage and a host of new features, the Delhi library doesn't just look completely different, it feels that way too.

“For us, we feel that we're no longer a small, little town library,” said Kim Freeman, a longtime Norfolk County Public Library employee who has worked at the Delhi branch for eight years. “Now our persona is like a city library.”

Some work is still ongoing, but the public was welcomed to test out the new space on Tuesday with a grand opening planned for the coming weeks. The project will cost an estimated $1.7 million when all is said and done. A total of 3,200 square feet was added to the existing 4,000. The facility now includes a meeting room, study room as well as a host of new electronics like touch screen computers and a large plasma TV.

“It's the beginning of a new dream for Delhi,” said NCPL CEO Heather King, who was pleased by the reaction of users on Day 1.

“(It's) just what we wanted, it was like 'oh my gosh, look at all the space, look at the amount of daylight that's going to be in the building'. They love the layout, comfortable seating – all the things we were really striving for. They're really surprised that it keeps going, that there's more than just what they see when they walk in the door.”

King said she and her staff are pleased to be able to offer meeting places for area organizations and a variety of books and activities to users.

“We will truly have a community hub now with spaces for other organizations to come in and potentially offer some of their services, as well as more opportunity to circulate the collection (and) have more of the collection available to people,” she added. “I think we're keeping pace with trends that are happening at public libraries in Ontario so that's really exciting.”

As a regular user of the old Delhi library, Ashley Stillmack and her youngest son Callen, 2, took a tour not long after the doors opened. After laying eyes on the place, Stillmack began to think about returning with both her boys.

“I'm super excited because we've been waiting for it,” she said. “It's comfortable and it's easier to be here than (driving to) Simcoe. I just can't wait until the weekends when I can bring my older son.”

The new library is already a hit with its employees and Freeman has a feeling the public will feel the same.

“We're hoping that's how everybody feels because it certainly is a nice environment to want to be in,” she said. “It's inviting, there's lots of space, lots of things for people to do so we're hoping that they're going to come, enjoy and spend some time.”

jrobinson@postmedia.com