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Linden's new library holds 'soft opening'

Linden's new library holds 'soft opening'

January 9th, 2019 by Neil Abeles in Texarkana Region

This sophisticated bear (notice his shoulder book bag) is just one of the many colorful figures in the children's room of Linden's new library. The bear is a gift to young readers from Ruth Halleck.

Photo by Neil Abeles /Texarkana Gazette.

The opening of a library likely would be cause for celebration. Bands might be playing.

Linden's new and first library, however, opened quietly last Thursday.

Gallery: Linden's new library holds 'soft opening'

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"A soft opening," said volunteer leader Kay Stephens, as she and others coordinated the efforts of volunteers handling donations of books and tables to convert a former home into an attractive, welcoming community resource.

The building is just one block off the town square and was the former home of Dr. O. R. and Hattie Taylor—Kay Stephens' grandparents.

The building's warmth and elegance are enhanced by its interior of period lighting, wood flooring, a fireplace and exposed brick columns. Its exterior is of brick manufactured by the former Atlanta Brick Company from the neighboring town of Atlanta.

The plain, home-like exterior can mislead the viewer. The remodeled interior and the hushed surroundings show a library full of energy, beauty and life. Shiny books and familiar, comical-cartoon characters will stare down at you from tasteful shelves.

And library volunteers will be hovering around, busy as if reverently serving a hallowed site. And they are, for a library is something everyone can agree on, the volunteers indicated. A public library suggests a literate, educated people live here who care about their quality of life.

Linden's library has been a long time in coming. More than a decade has passed since former physician Dr. Kathleen Sharp took the lead in forming a library friends organization. Through the years, materials and ideas have been gathered and stored. When the city purchased the Taylor home and grounds, activity increased, and City Council member Marlon Sullivan took a large leadership role in the library's development at the former home.

Stephens said that all books of the library have been donated. In fact, almost every item in the library has been contributed, from shelves and books from the Pittsburgh and Hughes Springs libraries to professional labor from such groups as the Fishermen's Class at Linden First United Methodist Church, who refinished the woodwork.

"What you see is what we've raised here. We've had volunteers galore, and these are not musty books on the shelves. Everything's been donated," Stephens said.

Two examples are the elegant Howard Miller grandfather clock, which at the front of the main library room emits a comforting chime every now and then. The gift is from the Mary Daughety estate.

And from Linden native Sam Higdon has come the period ceiling lamps, which were carefully chosen to lend a traditional and friendly glow.

Linden's library has one full-time employee. She is librarian Sydni Goza. Business hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday through Friday except for Wednesdays, when it is closed. Weekend hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, with Sundays closed.

The library's telephone number is 430-218-8770.

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