The Commerce Journal

August 7, 2013

Public library restoration continues, albeit slowly

By Allie Burks
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Efforts to restore the Commerce Public Library continue with the goal of completing the renovations by 2017 for the historic building’s 100th birthday.

The Friends of the Commerce Public Library, the local non-profit group that oversees all fiscal and operational aspects of the library, like the downtown location and want downtown Commerce to remain a vital aspect of the city.

“This beautiful building is covered with age,” Interim Library Director Nana Clay said. “It has a history behind it and we feel it is worth the effort to get it looking good again. If we can stay here and get it fixed up, we think it will be good for the city as a whole.”

Donations received during the weeks after the spring 2012 “Save the Library” Town Hall meetings are just enough for restoration specialist Mike Hudson to work on the center of the front entryway. He started by scraping the paint off the wood of the library exterior for a discounted price on June 24. His work was finished last week and he will continue when more funds are available.

“He is scraping the paint down to the woodwork which was found to be mainly cypress wood and he says it will look like new when he is done,” said Clay. “He is limited to doing just the portico in the front because of money.”

Volunteers helped start renovations during a workday last month and there are plans to have another workday to move furniture inside in order to focus more on scraping paint. The scaffolding out front where Hudson works serves as a symbol of local determination to save the vintage building.

“The people who give to the library help us stay open,” Clay said. “The city isn’t able to give us enough for us to operate. The restoration money has to be separate.”