J.R. Clarke Public Library rededication event set for Sunday

COVINGTON – The J.R. Clarke Public Library and the Covington community is invited to the “rededication of the J.R. Clarke Public Library and the 160th anniversary year of the birth of J.R. Clarke” event to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2.

There will be two food trucks in the parking lot of the library, Susie’s Big Dipper and Adam’s Food Trailer. In the community room, located in the basement, the LifeWise Academy will be set up to provide information to the community members celebrating.

LifeWise Academy was recently started in the village of Covington School District. The program provides “character education on biblical truth,” said Library Director Cherie Roeth. The basement of the library hosts the program and the children are shuttled from the school to the library. At this time, according to Roeth, over 80 students have signed up for the program with parental permission through the grades 1-5.

The Friends of the J.R. Clarke Public Library and other groups will be available as well with information. The Friends of the J.R. Clarke Public Library is a volunteer, non-profit organization. According to Roeth, the organization supports the library through “volunteerism and financial assistance.”

The library has undergone a renovation “through almost every room,” said Roeth.

Dan Leistner, vice president of the board of trustees, said, “It was inspiring. We tried to keep the history of the building alive, and it was done very well.”

Leistner and Roeth discussed the process of the renovations. The library staff and the board of trustees met with an engineer and a designer to plan the renovation and to optimize the space, while preserving the history of the building.

According to Roeth, the funding was mostly library funds that had been saved throughout the years and the remaining costs came from donations from the public.

During the renovation, all of the books had to be relocated to the temporary library in downtown Covington. Some of the books had to be stored in other businesses and homes until the renovations were complete.

“It was very difficult. We want to thank the community for their patience,” said Roeth.

Some of the renovated features include a history room, an updated children’s department, the intake room, an updated basement to create the community room, and a certified elevator to increase accessibility.

Leistner said, “Making the building accessible to everyone was important to us.”

Along with the updated physical structures, the technology available for patron usage has been updated. The J.R. Clarke Public Library also joined the Consortium of Ohio Libraries which connects smaller libraries.

In the future, Roeth wants to see the library collaborate with the local system more to get the children more exposed to the library and resources it offers.

Roeth and Leistner finished with a quote by Albert Einstein: “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”