In 2019, the Marshall County Public Library closed its Benton location, following the reconstruction and movement into their new facility, and permanently closed all three locations in 2020, due to the pandemic.
They are very pleased to welcome the community into, what feels like, a brand-new Benton facility, built and designed by local contractors. They have so appreciated the overwhelming response following their re-opening, and are excited to see the library busting with activity again.
On the lower-level, in their own room, is the children’s library where crafting events are held, books are available for checkout, and toys can be played with.
The lower level also houses the teen section, complete with shelves filled with young adult books, several sitting areas and booths for hanging out, and four computers, with plans for expansion in the future, reserved for teens, 10-18 years old, to game or research.
There are also several tables with outlets scattered throughout the first floor, where all-ages can work on their computers or read a book. Also, on the first floor, is the library’s most popular collection, the large-print books.
They have book-kits available, which is a classroom set of books with an audiobook and other materials, curated for children or adults, to be used for book clubs or classrooms.
The upstairs houses two large meeting spaces that can hold 200 people apiece and each have access to a private catering kitchen. Or, because of the accordion door, these two spaces can be opened and reconfigured into one space that holds up to 450 people. These meeting spaces can be used for any group that isn’t using it to make money. There are many options and many groups who are taking advantage of these spaces, hosting bible studies, book clubs, TOPS club, regional meeting places, industry meetings, orientations, and Chamber of Commerce breakfasts.
There is also a study room, and a slightly larger conference room, useful for taking exams, studying, or hosting smaller scale meetings.
The upstairs also houses all the audio-visual material: DVDs, CDs, games, and audiobooks; and directly adjacent to that is the Kentucky Reference room, where history and genealogy can be found and researched.
The computer lab is a large space that holds 24 computers, and can be used for research or reserved for larger-scale computer classes.
The Makerspace is an area that the library is especially proud of, containing a 3D printer, laser and vinyl cutter, laminator, heat press, and a button-maker. In order to use the machines, community-members have to request and complete training online. There is no charge to use any of the equipment if no library materials are used, but if library materials are used, patrons pay what the library was charged: $0.50 per ounce of 3D printing material, $1 per foot of vinyl, and $0.10 per foot of laminate.
A digital library, the KYVL Kentucky Virtual Library, is also available to all card-holders, so books can be read on-the-go by phone or tablet, and other resources can be accessed.
All locations have extended their hours. The Benton location is open Monday through Thursday from 9 am-7 pm, and Friday-Saturday from 9 am-5 pm The Calvert City and Hardin locations are open Monday 9 am-7 pm and Tuesday-Saturday from 9 am-5 pm
Tammy Blackwell, director of the Marshall County Public Library, says they are “full steam ahead” in planning upcoming events and servicing the community in any way they can, and invites everyone to take advantage of the incredible new space at Benton and come for a visit at any of their three locations.