Clermont is proving what can be accomplished with a good attitude and a little determination.
After countywide budget cuts forced their library branch to close, residents took matters into their own hands and created their own library.
The Clermont Historical Society celebrated the Historical Clermont DIP Library’s grand opening Friday evening. A large number of people showed up to take part in the celebration and offer their support.
Everything, from the books to the furniture, was donated and volunteers operate the library.
“The only thing that we’ve spent money on — I’ve built the wood bookcases,” Clermont Mayor James Nix said pointing to a white bookshelf.
He said he doubted if it cost as much as $500 to put the library together.
Some of the other shelves were salvaged from the old library after it closed.
Without any help from tax dollars the library boasts a considerable collection of books.
“This is through nothing. This is through volunteers and donating. Every book in here is donated. Everything has been donated and piecemealed together,” said Kristi Crumpton, library volunteer and media specialist at Mount Vernon Elementary School.
Members of the community and other libraries donated the 3,000 books that make up the collection. Crumpton said they are happy to accept more book donations.
“For it to be a donated collection, it’s very well-rounded,” Crumpton said.
There is a cozy place for kids to read and look at picture books. A shelf holding hundreds of best-selling fiction volumes wraps around the back half of the room. The library also has a considerable selection of nonfiction books, movies, magazines and audio books.
Crumpton said they’re still having to check out books “the old-school way” with paper library cards and stamped dates on the back cover for now. They haven’t yet had time to log all of the books into an automated system.
“But we are going to be automated, so we’ll have bar codes just like every other library,” Crumpton said.
The community hasn’t forgotten about its old county library, which remains a sore subject for some community members. Many people are holding out hope for the library to reopen.
But “there is no comparison” between the two libraries, historical society member Sandra Cantrell said. The new library is going to offer programs the old one couldn’t.
“It was small and they were limited on space and what we’re trying to do is to offer programs,” Cantrell said.
Students can take lessons in music and art while genealogists research their family history. Old photos line the hall to a room that will be used to showcase local artists. In the back of the building, in the old gym, a hand-built model of the town in 1950 is on display.
Cantrell said she hopes the library will encourage the older community to share their memories and create an interest in reading and history in the younger generations.
“If we can bring more of that to all ages, from every generation from your little bitties ... all the way up through the generations preserving the history. Because that’s where your history is found. It’s in the libraries,” Cantrell said.