Renovated Library set for May Grand Opening

The image above, drafted by the architectural firm of Ramsay Burgin Smith, depicts how the renovated Gunn Memorial Library will look when it is completed. Library Director Rhonda Griffin informed the Caswell County Commissioners earlier this fall that the plan is for the Grand Opening to be in May 2019.  

At a meeting of the Caswell County Commissioners earlier this fall, Rhonda Griffin, Director of Gunn Memorial Library, provided the elected officials with an update on the progress of the Library’s renovation project. 

Gunn Memorial Library has been the recipient in over $100,000 in financial assistance for the project, including $10,000 from McDonald’s for furniture in the children’s area, $49,978 from the LSTA State Library for a new Career Center in the updated Library, and $44,000 from Duke Energy for a new Makerspace and STEM Lab. 

“We’re working on coordinating everything to have everything delivered not too soon, so we don’t have to move it twice. But not too late, so it’s there when we’re open,” Griffin said. 

Griffin informed the Commissioners that there was minimal damage from Hurricane Michael’s arrival in Caswell County in October, and the Grand Opening for the renovated facility is still set for the spring of 2019. 

“The timeline - the completion is scheduled for mid-to-late March. We’re looking at getting furniture assembled. Most of our books are in a climate-controlled storage unit in Greensboro,” Griffin explained. “Right now we’re looking at about April 15 for it to be finished. We’re looking at the Grand Opening the first of May. We’ll need a couple weeks to get everything out of temporary storage. We’ll need about a month to get everything moved back into place.” 

Along with her presentation explaining the timeline for the renovation of Gunn Memorial Library, Griffin came before the Commissioners to request that they allow the relocation of the Library’s butterfly garden, which the new construction has displaced. Griffin proposed to move the library’s butterfly garden to an adjacent area alongside the parking lot, which the Commissioners approved. 

“Butterflies are a very popular program for children. We’ll still have a space for that,” she said. “The Friends of the Library have discussed it. We’ll get a Master Gardener - and there is one on our Friends (of the Library) Board - to design this area, and the area in front. And we’ll keep the front very well-maintained. The area in front would be more of a reading patio. It would still have pods, still have plants. It would have benches. Flower boxes. And benches on the side, so people can sit out there and read.” 

Griffin gave more details about the significance of the butterfly garden, which was approximately 450 square feet in its prior configuration. 

“We have volunteers that come in. Butterflies require certain, specific types of plants, including milkweed. Which gets really tall. They also require different types of plants that butterflies eat,” the Library Director said. “The chrysalises (butterfly pods or cocoons) are formed in the butterfly garden. We actually hot glue them to sticks or leaves and then bring them inside. And when the kids come in, they watch the butterflies or caterpillars create the chrysalis, and then come out and emerge as butterflies.” 

“We also have tags. Each butterfly has a number. We name the butterflies, we tag them and the children release them. They go to Mexico. In Mexico, they catch these butterflies. They see our tag, and the kids write down how big this butterfly got on its migration to Mexico.” 

“It’s actually a really cool project,” Griffin added. “I want it to work the best that it can. But I also want the butterfly garden to look good. It will still be maintained as the butterfly garden. But it will be moved to the rear parking area.” 

Prior to the unanimous vote in favor of the relocation, Commissioner David Owen stated, “I think it’s great.” 

Griffin added that the Library is accepting donations from the community for its relocated butterfly garden, along with support for its ongoing efforts once the renovation is concluded.