Emory Melton gives $25,000 to Barry-Lawrence Library

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Changes targeted in Cassville, Monett children's sections


In one of his last acts of public charity, Senator Emory Melton of Cassville donated $25,000 to the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library for use specifically for young readers.

The gift was announced at the library board's November meeting. Melton died at his home on Dec. 26.

According to instructions provided through Judge Ed Sweeney, half of the gift went to the Cassville Branch and half to the Monett Branch.

"I would somehow like to credit [the gift] in memory of [long-time Monett attorney and former Barry County prosecutor] Ed V. Sweeney and Marty Sweeney, his wife," Melton wrote.

The donation came at an opportune time, said Joyce Frazier, administrative assistant for the library. Lack of funding had made any kind of facility rearrangement difficult. At the Cassville Branch, staff switched the locations of the young children's book department with the teen area. The move positioned the young children's area where staff at the desk have a better view, and expanded the space available. Both sections received 
new furniture.

The young children received three new touch screen computers with colored keys, loaded with educational games; a new oval seating area, where children can place their books underneath; and a new colorful play rug. The teens received new higher Bistro seats and tables, convenient for their tablet use. All the shelving was moved to match the new readers.

With remaining funds, Frazier hopes to purchase additional e-books for the branch.

Director Gina Milburn said children arriving at the Cassville Branch have been surprised the section had moved. Once shown to the new location, she said they have enjoyed the new resources.

Plans for the Monett Branch call for moving the young children's section from the northeast corner, next to the bathrooms, to the southwest corner, now used for the magazines and newspapers. The change will provide more privacy for both the children and bathroom users, which has long been a concern. The shelving will be switched and new furniture added.

"We're taping the carpet now to save the $15,000 cost to replace it," Milburn said. "Senator Melton's gift was really a big help."

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