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Blanchard Public Library

Blanchard library seeks public's help with human chain

The interior of the new Blanchard Public Library is taking shape

As the Blanchard Public Library heads into a new era with a new building, the city and the library will bring back a tradition that started with its last move nearly two decades ago.

Hundreds of local residents will line the streets leading from the library’s facility on Main Street to the new building at 205 NE 10th Street starting at 9:30 a.m. May 12. Just as a “human chain” did 17 years ago as the library moved into the former United Methodist church at 300 N. Main Street, participants will be passing several shelves worth of books from one location to the other.

“We encourage everybody to come out and celebrate this with us,” said branch manager Janie Kimbrough. “They can just come out and stand anywhere along the way between the buildings. And if they have to leave at some point, that’s fine. We are just sure hoping it doesn’t rain.”

The newest building in the Pioneer Library System has been a long time coming for Kimbrough, who has worked at the Blanchard Public Library for 37 years, including several moves between facilities rented by the City of Blanchard.

Last year's groundbreaking for the new Blanchard Public Library

“Back then, we used to know everyone in town,” Kimbrough said. “We used to close down for funerals because everyone was going to be there.”

After several different stops at smaller facilities in downtown Blanchard, the library moved to its current location, which is owned by the city of Blanchard, in 1993. And like they are planning to do this year, many residents formed a line to move books from the former health building on south Main Street the handful of blocks north.

Now many of those residents who were children then will have the opportunity to bring their own children out to be part of this human chain.

The new building will give Blanchard more than double the space of its current facility, something needed in a city that continues to grow. In the 1990 census, the town’s population was 2,457. It has grown steadily and, according to the city of Blanchard’s Web site, now has more than 8,000 residents.

The current library facility will close May 9, with the new building slated to open either May 24 or 25 in advance of Blanchard’s Summer Reading Program. An official grand opening is expected to take place later in the summer.

For more information on the human chain or on the Blanchard Public Library, call 485-2275.

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