Terry England speaks

State Rep. Terry England of Auburn speaks Saturday, Oct. 23, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly-renovated and expanded Auburn Public Library that reopened to the public earlier this year after construction began last summer. 

The City of Auburn celebrated the renovation and expansion of the Auburn Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 23, prior to the city’s annual AuburnFest celebration.

The ribbon was cut by Mayor Linda Blechinger and state Rep. Terry England, followed by breakfast and an international puppet presentation from the Center for Puppetry Arts in its new meeting room, named the “The Terry England Meeting Room,” to honor his years of service to the city and Georgia.

The updated library reopened to the public in April after going under construction in July 2020.

The building fund started in 2015 along with plans for the expansion.

“So, it was five years in the making,” said library director Bel Outwater.

Before the expansion, “when we would do readings for kids, we would get so many kids that they were having to sit into the book stacks on the floor,” said Outwater. “So, with the new space we can have a couple hundred children come in and take advantage of our programs without feeling like they’re sitting on top of each other.”

With the larger space, Outwater and her team of library associates plan to hold bigger programs, host events and sponsor presentations as a gathering place for Auburn residents to take advantage of.

Currently on the library’s calendar of events are story times on Monday and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. for pre-K children, various teen nights, four book clubs for adults, a weekly knitting club and many special seasonal events. Coming up: the “EEK! A Night to Make You Shriek” Halloween party Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. for ages 12 and under.

A homeschool hangout is also in the works to help homeschool students and their families share resources, socialize and meet with like-minded individuals within Auburn’s growing community.

“We’ve always got something to do with parents who have kids and don't know what to do with them,” said Outwater.

Many individuals and groups came together to support Auburn’s library expansion which started on “$1,000 and a dream,” said Outwater. Funds came from a wide array of individual donors, Friends of the Auburn Public Library and a citizen-funded donation jar.

“Through the support of many people, we were able to grow into what our city needed, matching exponential population growth with expanded space and resources to continue to serve this amazing community for years to come,” Outwater said.

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