Wood County Public Library turns page with renovations

Photo by Wayne Towner Thomas Lodato, 4, left, and mother Brianne Lodato, right, of Parkersburg, work on a puzzle in the recently renovated Young Readers’ Room at the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library, which held a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday to celebrate the changes at the Emerson Avenue facility.

PARKERSBURG — After months of work, the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday for the renovations at the main library on Emerson Avenue in Parkersburg.

About 100 people turned out for the ceremony, which included refreshments from the Friends of the Library and the Blennerhassett Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a speech by library Director Brian Raitz and a ribbon-cutting for the new entrance off the library’s parking lot.

Raitz praised and thanked everyone involved in supporting the project, from the community to board and staff members to the companies involved in doing the work.

Throughout the renovation project, the library has remained open for the most part. Temporary closures were held during periods when parts of the library’s collection had to be moved to storage or returned from storage, the most recent in late December and early January.

The renovation project began last August and was completed in January. The project involved relocating the young readers area and the circulation desk to permit the installation of a new entrance from the library’s parking lot and changes to the elevator. The front entrance has stayed the same, as has the book drop.

Photo by Wayne Towner Community supporters and staff at the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library gather for photos in front of the new entrance which was recently added at the library. The project, which ran from August through January, included the new entrance, relocating the youth area and other improvements.

Raitz said visitors will also see a change in the library’s collection. The fiction and non-fiction sections have been flipped, with the more active fiction section now on the main floor and the non-fiction section on the basement level.

The Lodato family of Parkersburg was among the visitors at the library Saturday during a reception to celebrate the project completion.

Brianne Lodato said the family regularly visits the library and has enjoyed the changes made, especially for the children, Thomas, 4, and Emmi, 2.

“We absolutely love it and the kids have been so excited. We’ve been coming every week now since they’ve made the changes, it’s awesome,” she said.

Lodato said she really likes the new entrance directly from library’s parking lot.

Photo by Wayne Towner Brian Raitz, director of the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library, speaks about the library’s history and the community support it has received over the years and during recent renovations Saturday during a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the renovations.

“That’s so much easier for us, especially when you have to carry a 2-year-old and try to hold hands with a 4-year-old. It’s much easier coming from the parking lot,” she said.