Eight year anniversary since redeveloped library opened

TWO GENERATIONS: Senior library assistant Heather Mewett (left) experienced the redevelopment first-hand, while new library manager Hayley Bawden only remembers the current building.
TWO GENERATIONS: Senior library assistant Heather Mewett (left) experienced the redevelopment first-hand, while new library manager Hayley Bawden only remembers the current building.

Many people who have moved to Bordertown in recent years may be unaware of what the Bordertown Public Library looked like pre-redevelopment.

On Thursday, the library celebrated the eighth anniversary since it re-opened, after it went under a massive redevelopment to make it what it is today.

Nowadays, the beautifully designed Tatiara Civic Centre has become the central hub for many of the town's biggest events, linking the library and council building together - but that wasn't always the case.

In 2010, the decision to redevelop the library meant the entire contents of the original building needed to be temporarily moved until the construction was completed.

Senior library assistant Heather Mewett was front and centre during the massive project, and recalled the initial movement of all the library's books and shelves was far from simple.

Mrs Mewett said the library wasn't alone when it came moving its contents into the "hall area", with the Bordertown Rotary Club lending a helping hand.

"All the books and shelving had to be moved - the books went into onion bins and a forklift was used to bring them through the emergency doors in the hall, located at the back of the building," Mrs Mewett said.

Described as "incredibly hard work", the entire movement process required the library to close for one week.

Being based in the hall, the library had to fit everything into a small space, as well as improvise with the area they were given. Mrs Mewett said: "The kitchen was used as our staff room."

To enter the makeshift library, locals had to enter through the emergency exit doors, but Mrs Mewett said it didn't stop them, as they were happy that it was still open.

Although the redevelopment process took slightly longer than everyone expected, with the library operating "out the back" for 18 months before officially started moving back into the new and improved library on September 12, 2011.

Much like the initial moving process, shifting the library's contents took some time, taking a week to officially move into the new building.

Mrs Mewett said transferring everything was made easier with the addition of a lift, which was added during the redevelopment.

On September 19, 2011, the library reopened, but an official opening of the Tatiara Civic Centre was conducted by former Prime Minister Bob Hawke on October 30 of that year.

Before the redevelopment, the library and council building were separate, resulting in a small inconvenience for people travelling from one to the other.

Mrs Mewett said the changes made during the massive facelift were fantastic, with the original building still remaining, but with a modern extension added onto it.

"(In the original building) the only natural light we had was through the front door and the two leadlight windows at the front of the building," Mrs Mewett said.

Now, the entire building is well lit with artificial light and is well stocked with the latest library technology.

Mrs Mewett said the entire redevelopment couldn't have been done any better, with the building being used for many different purposes.

"In the next month or two, we will go from State of a Warrior to the Landcare Conference to a wedding," Mrs Mewett said.

The creation of the Tatiara Civic Centre has benefited the library, as well as the council, and the anniversary allows for locals to reflect on how much the building has changed in under a decade.