Washington’s new library was unveiled to the public over the weekend and it is a facility that all residents of the area can share in pride with the city. The $3.4 million renovation and expansion project resulted in a beautiful, functional, easily accessible building that is appealing to all ages.

It is a credit to the taxpayers, who deserve the most credit because they approved the library project as the No. 1 priority in renewing the city’s capital improvement sales tax. Mike Hopkins, library board president, gave special recognition to the taxpayers for approving the tax to fund the capital improvement project. He was on target in his remarks last Friday night when 150 people attended a special opening for the Friends of the Library. Another large crowd attended Sunday’s open house.

There probably isn’t a library that doesn’t need to add to its book and magazine resources. There are some nearly empty shelves in the new library. A nice way to help the library is to support it by donating funds or books. Librarian Nell Redhage can inform residents of what additional resources are needed.

The library is another asset the community can point to when entertaining visitors and prospects, whether they are here for industrial, commercial or residential developments, or people looking to move here.

City officials, and that includes the library board, certainly are due credit for their cooperation and interest in the project. They took the message voters gave them to heart and approved the project as a No. 1 priority. The architect, contractor and subcontractors performed well in constructing an excellent facility.

It’s too bad that many of the city’s early supporters of the library aren’t here to see the change, bothw in the physical attributes and the attitude of people toward this valuable asset. Many of us are still around who remember the climbing of stairs to the top floor of city hall to visit the library. It didn’t have a high priority with some city officials in those days and the resources weren’t there either for improvements and expansion.

The library had outgrown its space at Fifth and Jefferson when it shared the building with the police department, which was on the lower level.

The new library was needed. It should serve citizen needs for many years to come. It’s a people place, a resource for education, learning and even entertainment. It reflects the values of the city and its citizens.