Thanks to successful fundraisers and a grant, the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library in Odessa will be starting a new chapter in its history with a variety of interior renovations.
“We are trying to make as big of a splash as possible, within our budget,” said Karen Quinn, the director of Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library. “We are re-painting, moving in new furniture, and also moving the locations of some of the collections.
This will not be the first time that the historic library has undergone changes. The original library was established in 1847, specifically to give women and children a place to learn and read. It was unique in that aspect because libraries were typically open to just men during that era.
In 1924, the original building burned down and the library was moved to the parlor of the David Wilson Mansion. After its popularity began to grow, Daniel Corbit added on a second parlor wing for library use in 1937. Then, in 1969 Leslie Calloway, a local benefactor, donated the land on which the library now sits.
Quinn said the renovations are being funded with money raised at events such as Mayfest and Christmas in Odessa. The library also received a $2,500 grant from the Delaware Division of Arts, but that is used exclusively on their children’s programming. This year will mark the second time that Corbit-Calloway has received the grant.
“We have also done a massive weeding of our books, sending a good deal of them to the Vietnams Veterans of America. We have probably weeded about 20 to 30 percent of our books to be able to beef up our non-fiction and reference.”
The changes are being done in part to expand up the library’s current niche.
“Right now our library specializes in children’s programs,” said Librarian Katryna Cera-Proulx. “We’d like to expand our niche by making seating sections for adults on the Calloway side, so that they are able to sit and talk.”
The library will be closed Friday, Nov. 18 so that the bulk of the remodeling can be completed. Quinn hopes to have the renovations completed and ready for a “big reveal” in early to mid-December.