The Collinsville Public Library recently revealed its newly completed children’s area.

Collinsville Library Director Jennifer Wilkins said the children’s building project began with a donor who wanted to inspire children to read.

What started as an idea, grew to a vision of a space designed specifically for children to enjoy and be able to nurture their reading skills.

“This exciting project took shape when library board members suggested a switch with the service desk location and the small space designated to children at Collinsville Library,” said Wilkins.

Findings by Donna Celano and Susan B. Neuman, authors and researchers, reveal libraries play a major role in fostering literacy in our nation, particularly among those segments of the populations that need assistance in developing literary skills, such as preschool and elementary school children.

Following suit, the Alabama Public Library Service (ALPS) encourages growth and innovation to better serve local communities with excellent library service to help improve the quality of life of the communities they serve.

With a project drafted, proceeds from the library's annual Hallin' Up the Gap 5K Challenges were used to fund the many updates and changes to the library's children's department.

Wilkins said after months of planning and seeking the perfect builder, Collinsville’s native Neil Robison took on the project, creating a unique design that was completed in March of 2021.

“Artist Brandi Still was on board to undertake the murals and other elements to fully bring the area alive,” she said.

Still spend weeks researching the history of Collinsville with the help of dozens of newsletters published over the last few years by the Collinsville Historical Association.

“The newsletters helped bring the vision of Our Town to this space,” said Wilkins. “The final cost was $5,621 and truly was inspired by Collinsville landmarks both past and present.”

“Our Town” features colorful depictions of various landmarks including long-standing businesses such as Grave’s Hardware, El Quetzal, Halls and Cooks Barber Shop.

“The original donation along with other local monies, proceeds from the 5K library run and memorial donations in memory of former Library Board Chairman Myles Smith made up the balance,” Wilkins said.

The late Myles Smith served as a member of the Collinsville Library Board in 2004 before serving as chairman in 2009.

Smith can be seen as the train conductor on one of the many murals in the children’s area.

“He is the only face of a real person among the many children pictured,” said Wilkins. “The new [children’s area] is a great space for children and adults to come and learn about the history of Collinsville.”

The Collinsville Public Library is located at 151 N Main St. Collinsville, AL 35961. Hours of operation are Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For regular updates follow them on Facebook @CollinsvillePublicLibrary.

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