Columbiana Library receives grant to update children’s reading area

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, November 16, 2022

By MEG HERNDON | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Columbiana Public Library will soon have a revamped children’s reading area thanks to a community service grant given to the library from Rep. Corley Ellis.

The grant, which was just more than $600, came about when Ellis was visiting the library with his son.

“My son and I go to the library all the time to check out books because he’s a reader,” Ellis said. “So, we were in the library and some old beanbags had ripped open, they were trying to take some of the foam from one and put it in the other, and it was just such a mess.”

Ellis then asked if they had thought of refurnishing the area, and one of the librarians explained despite the desire to, recent budget cuts meant they did not have the funding to do so.

He then told them to give him a proposal on what a refurbished children’s reading area would entail, which is where the grant came about.

“It’s so refreshing,” Ellis said, “because I walked in there yesterday to give the check and there were three kids sitting in that area we’re about to revamp reading, and I thought, ‘Okay, this is a cool area to encourage kids to read.’”

Jennifer Combs, director of the library said with the funding, they are planning to add two modular couches that can be moved around and used as forts as well as a few gaming chairs for kids to sit and relax in while reading.

Combs said she placed the order on Tuesday, Nov. 15, and the children’s reading area should be updated by early December.

“Reading starts in childhood,” Combs said. “When you have a comfortable place, a safe place for kids to come and enjoy reading and just kind of have their own space, it gives the kids a nice place for them to come and fall in love with reading.”

As the father of an avid reader, Ellis also knows how important reading is for children and the role that libraries play in fostering that relationship.

“Our public libraries are such a huge asset, not just for our students, but to the general public,” Ellis said. “People that don’t have good Wi-Fi in their area come in and use the computers, kids that don’t have access to computers for their homework can come and do their homework or job applications. So, they’re such a big asset that it’s truly an honor to be able to come in and help them out a little bit because they help so many people.”

Combs extended her gratitude to Ellis for caring about the library and having the community at the forefront of his mind.

“He has been an absolute blessing to the library, not just now, but in the past,” Combs said. “We are blessed to have someone in the community that cares enough to look in on us and after us.”

Combs said if anyone is interested in making a donation towards that library they are always open to anything anyone wants to give.

“We will take anything we can to foster the love of reading,” Combs said. “But really, I just want to thank Corley and the community as a whole.”