Archive for Monday, July 16, 2012

New librarian hired for Eudora

Community discussion about public facility’s future likely on the horizon

July 16, 2012


Lawrence may not be the only Douglas County community that decides to invest in new library space even as the book world makes a dramatic turn into the digital age.

Leaders with the Eudora Public Library announced on Monday they have hired a new library director who comes to Eudora after having successfully led an effort to build a $1.3 million library in Andover.

Carol Wohlford, who has served as the director of the Andover Public Library for the last nine years, will take over in early September as the director of the Eudora Public Library. She said she expects issues surrounding Eudora’s nearly 40-year-old, 2,500 square-foot library building to be a major topic.

“I have done this once, and if Eudora is ready to build a new library, I’m ready to do it again,” Wohlford said.

Eudora officials haven’t yet made any decisions about whether to seek public approval for a new library, but Wohlford’s hiring makes it clear a community discussion about the future of the library is on the horizon, said Kenny Massey, chair of the library’s board of directors.

“The board hasn’t officially started to talk about a new library yet, but the patrons who use the library regularly and the board realize the time is quickly approaching that we’re going to have to talk about the subject,” Massey said. “Carol has been through the growing pains of a library, which is where we’re at right now.”

Eudora library leaders, however, did secure property for a new library as part of an interlocal agreement when a vacant Eudora school building was razed last year. The library now owns a portion of the former Eudora school site near Ninth and Main streets in downtown.

The new job represents a bit of a homecoming for Wohlford. She grew up in East Lawrence and attended Kansas University. She married KU football player Bill Wohlford, who later went on to become a top aide to U.S. Sen. Bob Dole. While Wohlford and her husband, who died in 2004, lived in Washington, D.C., Wohlford worked as a librarian at the Smithsonian.

In Andover, Wohlford led a campaign to build a new 15,000 square-foot library to replace the community’s aging 2,500 square-foot building. The new building allowed the library to add a computer lab, art gallery, meeting rooms, an expanded children’s section, a genealogy department and other features.

But Wohlford said she doesn’t know what could be in store for Eudora until she hears from patrons and leaders in the community.

“But I do believe that a good library has to become a community hub,” Wohlford said. “The director has to reach out to the community and develop a place where people of all ages want to come.”

Wohlford replaces Marlene Evinger, who retired at the end of 2011 after 27 years with the Eudora Public Library.


Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

I would hope that the new librarian in Eudora would work closely with the new Lawrence librarian - sharing things when possible, and hopefully with other librarians throughout the state.

wcrowe227 5 years, 11 months ago

Carol is a remarkably gifted leader in many spheres and is a great catch for Eudora. Welcome home!

Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

johndeere, that is not true. YOU may not need a library. YOU may perhaps be willing to sit at home all by yourself looking at ebooks. But the great majority of people need to be around other people. You also get ideas from other people, new approaches to things.

The real problem is that Lawrence never considered small, regional libraries - instead the library board pushed for one central library. If regional libraries had been considered all over Lawrence, then people could also pay their bills there, and they could meet one another. For children and seniors, too, regional libraries are a great help. Families with limited budgets could take their children to the local regional library, instead of trying to get the one main library.

But that's the library board's fault. They would never pay any attention to this idea, although I and many others brought it up online.

irvan moore 5 years, 11 months ago

i think lawrence (city commission) was more interested in creating a parking garage for downtown than looking at ways a library could better serve the area

Belinda Rehmer 5 years, 11 months ago

johndeere: West Elementary is not sitting empty. It is very actively being used! This building is currently leased to: the Greenbush Resource Center (Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, for educators) and the Community Learning Center (Adult High School Diploma center) Combine this with community activities in the gymnasium this building is bustling with activity almost every day.

As for Nottingham: In cooperation with the Eudora city council, the school board adopted a long-range plan for the 14th and Church properties, with the goal of selling all or most of that land to a commercial developer. Until this property sells, Nottingham is being leased with the city and community for use of the gym and cafeteria. Which includes an extension of the Library I believe. Eudora could use a larger Library facility that is equipped with the electronic needs of today, because, library's are so much MORE than paper books. AND there is nothing that can take the place of reading out of a book.... and for no other reason than, everyone deserves the opportunity to experience that feeling!

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