New library has grand opening in Overbrook

The Cosmos Federated Club organized the first library in Overbrook in 1928, so it was fitting that two of the group’s members helped christen Overbrook’s new library in a grand opening ceremony Saturday.

Cosmos member Lois Harris and Overbrook Library Board President Marni Penrod held a ribbon as Cosmos member Jean Gilmore used giant scissors to ceremoniously open the new library in front of a crowd of donors and community well-wishers.

020914-overbrook-nortonsOverbrook Mayor Don Schultz told how the community room was still a vacant lot in September 2012, when community members embarked on a challenge to raise funds to build the addition to the new library, a project that was “sparked” by a generous bequest of nearly $1 million from Glen and Claudine Norton.

“That spark from the Norton family lit the fire,” Schultz said about the community then raising $465,000 in three months to complete the project.

Schultz expressed the community’s gratitude for the Nortons’ generous gesture, and directed everyone’s attention to a memorial placed in their honor in the library’s foyer – a photograph of the couple along with a plaque.

Glen and Claudine Norton were longtime residents and supporters of Overbrook. Claudine was born here in 1918, was a graduate Overbrook Rural High School, and worked in banking at Kansas State Bank for 29 years. Glen owned and managed a lumber and hardware company from 1963 until the couple retired in 1987. Claudine died in 2007 at the age of 89, and Glen died at the age of 90 in 2010, at which time the couple’s bequest was revealed. It was their hope the gift would help the library continue to be an integral part of the community for generations to come.

Other donors are also recognized in the foyer. A special display designed to represent books on a shelf, handcrafted by Dr. Bruce Cole, honors those who donated to the capital campaign.

Saturday was the library’s official grand opening, but it had opened to patrons on Jan. 6 after the interior was completed. The exterior is now substantially complete, with finishing touches delayed due to last week’s snow storm.

After the ceremony, everyone enjoyed cookies, coffee and tours of the new library.

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Overbrook Mayor Don Schultz, center, and city council member Jon Brady, left, speak with some of the well-wishers who gathered near the information desk  during the new library’s grand opening Saturday.

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A unique display, handcrafted by Dr. Bruce Cole, shows the names of donors to the capital campaign that completed the library’s community room.

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Miss Teen Kansas Tobie Roberts explores Overbrook Library’s children’s selections with some young readers Saturday.

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A sleek, modern entrance welcomes all to Overbrook’s new library.

Overbrook Public Library is located at 317 Maple St., and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 2 p.m.-6 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 2-7:30 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, call 785-665-7266.

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