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New library opens to rave reviews
7/24/2014 2:21:47 PM

PLAQUE PRESENTED - The widow of late Wayne County Commissioner J.D. Evans, Shirley Evans, left, accepts a plaque from Wayne County Public Librarian Donna Phillips during last Sunday’s dedication of the new $2.5 million Steele Memorial Library. Evans was an advocate and strong supporter of the project from its early days. A conference room in the new facility is named in his honor. (Staff photo by WILLIAM HOLLOMAN)
By William Holloman
Staff Writer
The new, $2.5 million Steele Memorial Library has opened.
Folks from across the county and elsewhere gathered last Sunday afternoon to wow and marvel at the facility at its dedication.
They heard from a host of speakers of its importance and how it all came about.
The gleaming shininess of that which is new even smelled that way.
The sheer scope of its significance is defined in that it is a 22,000 square feet library that replaces a miniature one a block away that offered only 1,800 square feet of floor space.
The reality of it all burst with excitement as local, county, and state officials spoke, stirring the pride of those who did not speak, but also made it all happen.
State librarian Cal Shepard, the last speaker, told the packed conference room, “I am impressed with what I have heard here today. A library is the reflection of its community.”
Wayne County Commissioner chair Wayne Aycock called it “a place for the community to gather.”
Mount Olive Mayor Ray McDonald Sr., obviously taken aback, said, “I know the people of Mount Olive, and if they want something to happen, it will.”
He told the Tribune, “No one at this time can talk about what the economic impact of our town will be, but it is going to draw a lot of people to Mount Olive.”
Steering committee chair Lynn Williams lauded her steering committee members by naming and asking each to stand up.
She also went on to name most, if not all, of those individuals and organizations and businesses that contributed to making the library a reality.
“These are some hard-working people, and it is a great day for Mount Olive and for Wayne County,” she said.
Wayne County librarian Donna Phillips presented the widow of the late Wayne County Commissioner J.D. Evans with a plaque noting his involvement, which initially spearheaded the movement for a new library in Mount Olive.
“He did so much for this community,” she said.
Evans’ widow, Shirley, told the crowd, “This is a facility the entire county can be proud of.”
She said her husband was always willing to help “one more person and one more child.”
The conference room at the new library is named in Evans’ honor.
The packed house of residents and dignitaries toured the facility, which includes a number of areas in the main entrance and adjoining areas that provide more than 40 computers for patron use, self-checkout, and copy and print areas.
A sign on the wall in one area makes it clear what the library is all about--“explore, discover, connect.”
The library hours are 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday hours of operation are from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday hours are from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

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