One of the benefits of the new DeWitt Community Library is additional public space for community, business and private/personal events. 

At its monthly meeting last week, the board reviewed updated policies for using those spaces to reflect the new facility, which is nearly complete except for some minor details.

The large meeting room can seat 80 people, although capacity is being limited to 20 during the pandemic. The Frances Banta Waggoner board room is also available, with a capacity of 12 that is limited to four to six during the pandemic. The Hub room will be available after COVID-19 is over and will have a capacity of 26. 

The Hub, which is where staff processes quarantined materials right now, will be used after the pandemic as a multi-purpose programming space that will allow the library to host more “maker” type events. 

It would be a good place for organizations like Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Iowa State Extension Office to do projects and programs that might require a little more clean-up, said Jillian Aschliman, the library’s director.

Charges are $25 per hour for the large meeting room and $15 per hour for the other two rooms for private events and businesses, Aschliman said. The prices are the same as they were to rent space at the old library.

“Community organizations, non-profits, etc. can use the spaces free of charge, but we are restricting the group sizes during COVID to enforce social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Iowa Department of Health,” she said.

Eventually, people will be able to make reservations online up to six months in advance subject to approval by the library staff. 

Other items discussed at the meeting were:

Blind Date with a Book: Through Saturday the library will be hosting a “Blind Date with a Book.” Patrons can stop by the library and pick up a book – blind date style. People can choose based off a few key words and NO title or cover, and the staff will set them up for a Valentine’s Date that won’t disappoint. Young adult and adult fiction titles will be available.

Des Moines Gamer Symphony Orchestra Virtual Presentation at 1 p.m. Saturday. The DeWitt Library is co-hosting this event with Ericson Public Library and Kendall Young Library. All ages are welcome, but the presentation will be geared toward teens. A brass band will play gamer music. It will feature a short presentation, audio samples and some video game/video game music trivia. Contact kkarkosh@dewittlib.org to receive the Zoom link.

February Take & Makes: Adults can make a bird feeder the week of Feb. 15; Beaded Book Buddies for 4th through 8th graders the week of Feb. 26th. 

Updates on new facility: The non-fiction collection was moved in early January to the renovated section of the old library. The rest of the collection was shifted by Jan. 14 to its new location. A door counter has been installed and sends digital reports that can breakdown foot traffic by the hour. The first piece of artwork was installed on Jan. 29, “My Other Worlds” by local artist Liz Wakita. It can be viewed on the back wall in the adult fiction area.