Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Map of James I. Gibson Library
100 W. Lake Mead Parkway, Henderson
After nearly a year of construction, the $2.85 million James I. Gibson Library in Henderson is set to open this morning.
An estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people are expected to use the branch’s services within the next year, said Henderson Library District Executive Director Tom Fay.
“We want to make sure we’re meeting the needs of the community,” Fay said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Construction on the on the new library broke ground in August 2009. It will officially open at 9:30 a.m. today, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 8:30 a.m.
The new library, located at 100 W. Lake Mead Parkway, is 19,919 square feet, about 4,000 square feet larger than the old library, which was located near City Hall at 280 South Water Street in downtown Henderson.
When choosing the new location, Fay said, it was important to keep the library close to downtown. But being on Lake Mead Parkway will make the library easier to access from main roads and more visible, he said.
“We’re looking at it long-term,” he said. “We think we’re a pretty big draw for developments.”
If the community grows, the new location also has about 7,500 square feet to potentially build an addition, Fay said.
“We’ll be able to expand a little bit with the community, which is nice,” he said.
The old library was relatively squeezed into its location, making it impossible to grow, Fay said.
The new library cost about $2.85 million to build, Fay said. The city bought back the old Gibson library for $4 million, he said.
The new library boasts many features the old library didn’t, including an open entryway, a computer lab and a Bright Spot area for young children.
Candace Kingsley, library branch manager, has a difficult time choosing her favorite part of the new building. The mother in her likes the Bright Spot, which encourages parents to read to their young children, but the librarian in her adores the new computer lab, she said.
“The old building was not built to handle all of that wiring,” she said. It was built in 1989, she said.
The lab has 25 computers but could house up to 30 in the future, Kingsley said.
Fay said computer labs at Henderson’s libraries are always full. Nowhere else provides free computer and Internet access the way libraries do, and they fill an important need, he said.
A drive-thru window, located on the building’s west side, will allow people to pick up items reserved by calling in or going online without getting out of their car, Fay said.
“It helps those with young children and the elderly,” Kingsley said. “It’s easier for them to pick up...especially with the heat.”
The new location also has more parking. Instead of sharing many spaces with City Hall, Fay said, the new Gibson Library will have 110 spaces of its own.
No new jobs will be created by the move, Fay said.
The library will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Henderson libraries are closed on Sundays.