Library reopens today


If you go

What: Alfred Dickey Library open house

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12

Where: 105 3rd St. SE, Jamestown

Details: 2 p.m. informal presentation

Contact: 252-2990,


The many months of work and some expensive surprises pale in comparison to knowing Jamestown's historic library will be preserved for another century, according to library officials.

Alfred Dickey Library reopens with an open house today after a three-month closing to complete a more than $600,000 project including foundation and interior work. It was the major hurdle leading up to the library's centennial celebration in February 2019.

"It feels great to be almost done with this project," said Joe Rector, executive director of the James River Valley Library System. "When we started it seemed there were so many things to be done and virtually everything in the library had to be restored or replaced."

The most visible transformation is the children's area in the lower level, he said. The children's library reception desk and computer stations were moved from the center to the side of the room to open the floor for activities, Rector said. New children's furniture is a combination plastic and rubber to be soft and durable.

There are tree decals for the walls and the ceiling was painted blue with wavy white baffles that represent clouds and reduce noise at the same time, he said.

The children's area is a much more colorful and open space, he said.

"Without any exterior windows, having a colorful space is really important for a children's area," Rector said. "The new ceilings also cover pipes and ductwork."

New DVD shelving and bookcases on wheels that can be easily moved to create space for programming and events are part of the changes there too, he said.

Regular patrons will notice the more subtle changes on the main floor but there was great effort to maintain continuity with the original look, he said.

"A lot of work has been done with carpeting and painting and new wall covers but the upstairs is going to look very similar except for some color changes," Rector said.

The new items include books and memorabilia in a glass case from the family of Alfred Dickey, the Jamestown banker and first lieutenant governor of North Dakota for whom the library is named. Work has started on the Louis L'Amour exhibit where there are two portraits but it will not be ready for unveiling until the library centennial celebration in February, he said.

The Louis L'Amour room is also the periodical and DVD room with all new shelving as does the audio CD room, Rector said.

The open house will include an informal presentation but is really just for people to walk around and see the changes, he said. There will be storyboards on the before and after of the renovations, along with plans to take place before February, he said.

The deterioration in the foundation added $100,000 to the $502,000 project, Rector said. The changes required budget cuts, fundraising efforts and reserve funding to defray expenses, he said.

"Most of the money was spent on things that you can't really see because it's covered in dirt now," Rector said. "But there wasn't much point in renovating the upstairs of Alfred Dickey Library if we didn't first have a new roof which we did a year and a half ago and then a repaired foundation which we did this summer."

The concrete work is completed and the landscaping will wait until spring, he said.