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Crestview library upgrades check-out, adds café

CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Public Library has come a long way since Bertha Henry started loaning books to the public out of her East Pine Avenue home in the 1940s.

Crestview Mayor JB Whitten chats with a patron during the sneak peek evening Sept. 17 at the Crestview Public Library.

Now, several buildings and locations around the city later, the library’s current 19-year-old home on Commerce Drive has received some technological and physical upgrades.

And — at last — it even has a café.

“People have asked us for a café for years,” Director Jean McCarthy said. “We’re not at the stage where we have a barista and a selection of baked goods, but we have a place where patrons can bring their own snacks and beverages.”

Located near the Sandra Dreaden Gallery Wall, the Quiet Café offers a spot to sip a coffee, enjoy a treat, and peruse a book.

“But food and drinks have to stay in the café,” McCarthy said.

For younger patrons, the library has added three new early literacy computers and an after-school learning computer for older kids. For smaller patrons, a new reading nook near the story room features kid-sized furniture.

Youth Librarian Heather Nitzel reads a book to young patrons around a “campfire” over which the kids pretended to roast marshmallows skewered on a pretzel stick Sept. 17 at the Crestview Public Library.

A newly designed circulation desk includes a high-tech check-out system and features a self-check-out kiosk. Behind the scenes, new state-of-the-art technology allows library staff to work more efficiently and provides more information at their fingertips.

More than 160 patrons got a sneak peek at the new facilities Sept. 17. During the hour-long preview, kids enjoyed skewering marshmallows on pretzel sticks and “roasting” them over a tissue paper “campfire” while Youth Librarian Heather Nitzel told stories.

Shortly after the library’s sneak peek evening, the new circulation desk was installed. A new check-out system, including a self-check-out kiosk, joined the new furniture at the Crestview Public Library, 1445  Commerce Drive, Crestview.

“Public libraries have been around since our country was founded,” McCarthy said. “Our foundation is built on books and service. We may be going high-tech, but we’ll never change what we’re built on.”

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: Crestview library upgrades check-out, adds café