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Hundreds of people waited patiently under threatening skies, Sunday, December 9, for the opportunity to explore the new and old areas of the historic century-old Classic Revival Central Library, which opened following a $70 million restoration.
Central Library Renovation Receives 'Wow' Approval at Opening
Alderwoman Phyllis Young's remarks on the unanimous Special Resolution from the Board was enjoyed by Waller McGuire, Director of St. Louis Public Library and Mayor Francis G. Slay.
Standing in the Grand Hall, Waller McGuire, Director of St. Louis Public Library, said that it was wonderful to see how people reacted to the restoration.
Matt LaMartina said he had been waiting for Central Library to reopen just to see the new kids room with his two-year-old son, Remy, who squealed with delight to hold a Dr. Seuss book.
(L - R) John DeGuire and his three-year old daughter Lilly work on a puzzle across the table from Adam and Elle Flath and their daughter Olivie.
Kids of all ages enjoyed climbing on the new soft structures in the newly expanded Childrens Room.
Bill Selbert explained the Creative Experience table to David Lobbig and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Maggie.
Library patrons waited patiently to check out books at the new desk in the Grand Foyer at the Olive Street Entrance.
by Bob Moore, SLFP.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 9, 2012 - We hope you enjoy using it as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you," announced Jacque Land, Board President, St. Louis Public Library, during opening ceremonies for the unveiling of the $70 million renovation of Central Library.
Mayor Francis G. Slay thanked hundreds of people who had been waiting patiently under threatening skies for the opportunity to explore the new and old areas of the historic century-old Classic Revival building, designed by Cass Gilbert in 1912.
"This exquisite restoration is a testiment to the value we have as a community in our education, in learning and access to information and, of course, to our beautiful architecture," said the Mayor.
"Many of you have heard me say before that this is one of my favorite buildings anywhere. This Library receives a tremendous amount of support from the taxpayers of St. Louis. You are very much responsible for what we are doing here today," he stated as everyone clapped loudly in response.
Alderwoman Phyllis Young (7th ward), who presented a special resolution, said, "The Library is a place for all of us to come for pleasure. It's also a place that allows for equalization because anybody can come here and learn what they want if they take the time to do the research. I applaud the City of St. Louis for supporting this system which is extremely important to the community."
Young humorously pointed out that all 28 aldermen, as well as the board president, had signed the resolution honoring the opening of the Library. "To get that kind of unanimity at the Board on anthing is difficult as you might know, she said, as the crowd laughed. "We celebrate its reopening and you are going to be astounded at how fabulous it is."
Waller McGuire, executive director, St. Louis Public Library, noted that when the Library first opened in 1912, there were three hours of speeches. "We decided not to recreate that. But I wanted to tell you just a little bit of what's waiting inside," he said.
Speaking distincly, McGuire began highlighting the changes and amenities. "Please visit the great rooms of the main floor, shinning and glowing again and full of beautiful, wonderful things. Step from the majesty of the Grand Hall into the brand new Atrium, soaring around you, meant to lift your spirits and your mind. Let the book birds and the jelly babies lead you into the Children's Library that is meant to be a paradise, a wonderland for children and their guardians in coming weeks."
McGuire challenged patrons to pull out their smart phones and test one of the most powerful, sophisticated wireless networks in St. Louis.
"Go to the Third Floor and see brand new rooms that have never existed before. The outside of the building looks like it hasn't changed. The inside of the Library is almost twice as big as it was before. Discover the magic of how THAT happened," he smiled.
McGuire suggested that patrons also go downstairs and see the new auditorium built in what was the coal bin and imagine the children's programs, the authors, the musical performances that are booked into the stunning new space for the next six months.
"Walk around the outside of the building and watch the lovely Lion's Head fountains flowing again for the first time in seventy years," he said. "Visit the beautiful new canopy behind the building at the Locust Street entrance and look and see the phrases from books, suggested by patrons from across the city as words that had changed their lives. See them appear and disappear under the water. Or look up and see tens of thousands of titles you've enjoyed over the years engraved in the stainless steel," he noted.
"It's a wonderland inside and outside. Come back and see it shinning in the darkness at night. Check out a book," added McGuire.
He also requested that patrons be a little patient with Library staff still getting used to hundreds of new systems and services. "They are thrilled to have you back," he emphasized, and looking forward to serving you."
After being closed for nearly two years, library officials and local dignitaries proudly opened their 'gift to St. Louis' with a enthusiastic pull on the giant red ribbon. Laughing and chatting, families and friends quickly entered through the large bronze-grilled gates at the Olive Street entrance and into the Grand Foyer. Exclamations of 'wow' and 'this is amazing' could be heard over library staff directing visitors into the Grand Hall and other rooms.
Inside the newly expanded Childrens Room on the Ground Floor, parents watched as children climbed on colorful, new soft structures and eagerly pulled books from the low shelves.
"It's colorful and the kids look like they are having a good time," said Adrian Draper who brought her four kids to the opening.
"I love it," said St. Louis city resident Matt LaMartina. "We have been waiting for the Library to open just to see the new kids room with our two-year-old son, Remy. He loves it. And, as you can see, we are going on to our sixth book just sitting at the table," he laughed when his son squealed with delight upon opening a Dr. Seuss book.
The Ground Floor also features new Teen Rooms and a four-bay Creative Expreience with state-of-the-art technology and large Discovery Walls. David Lobbig and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Maggie said they were very impressed with the changes.
When asked about the new resource, Lobbig responded, "It's amazing. This is a place where a group of people can come together and collaborate on a project with technology using the data base of the Library, the Internet and this big screen."
Standing in the Grand Hall, Waller McGuire, Director of St. Louis Public Library, stated that it was wonderful to see how people reacted to the restoration. "They are happy and excited about the new building. The Library hopes that we can continue that. We have a real responsibility to our public and so we are going to work to keep everyone happy as they are today."
"The Library really truly belongs to the people who are here today," he said with a smile. "More than any other public building, the public owns the Public Library, so they are in their own house in a way. They are excited and for those of us who have been working on this work for a decade, that means a lot. We are thrilled."
See related story: Central Library Opens a New Chapter Following $70 Million Restoration
Visitors to the newly opened Central Library explored the Center for the Reader, created out of former staff work rooms. The area on the ground floor now featured well-lit, recessed oval-shaped contours in the ceiling with literary quotes, hovering around and above a custom-designed, large circular circulation desk.
Most Missouri Schools Technology Ready for New, Computer-Based Tests
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 12, 2012 - A new report shows that a majority of Missouri's public schools have the technology necessary to conduct computer-based achievement testing set to begin during the 2014-15 school year.
Missouri schools reported in a survey that about 95 percent of their computer devices provide the level of technology necessary to handle the testing.
"We were pleased to see that most schools in the state have been able to invest in the technology they need to help prepare students for the future," said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.
The new tests will be given to students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 and are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics, adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010.
The report, Smarter Balanced Technology Strategy Framework and System Requirements Specifications, will help states and school districts across the country determine if their current computer technology - including desktop, laptop and tablet computers - meets the requirements needed for the new tests.
Online assessments offer states and school districts clear advantages, including more types of questions, timely feedback to inform instruction and improved accommodations for students with special needs.
Nearly 98 percent of schools in Missouri provided information about their computer technology prior to the October 2012 cutoff date for the report. However, schools can continue to submit their technology information to determine their ability to administer the tests.
The Department is currently working with schools across Missouri as they prepare to implement the state's new academic standards. The new standards, which will be assessed beginning with the 2014-15 school year, are designed to better prepare students for college, other postsecondary training and careers.
The Show Goes On at Macy's Holiday Festival of Lights
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