As she was moving into her new building, Derby Public Library director Judy Bennett fielded a recurring question from Derby residents.
"People were asking, 'How many new books did you get?' " she said Friday. "Well, we didn't get any."
The 80,000 books, magazines and other items that library workers were moving into the new building at 1600 E. Walnut Grove all came from the old building at 611 N. Mulberry.
"It was so jam packed, it was hard to see what was there," Bennett said. "I think people will see that we have materials here they had no idea we have."
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Derby voters, who in 2007 approved a half-cent sales tax to build the $6.9 million library, will have their first chance to visit the new library when it holds its grand opening at 10 a.m. today.
There will be tours of the building, an art display, children's crafts, and visits by three authors and a storyteller.
"We're expecting a crowd," Bennett said.
The new library contains a community meeting room, an art exhibit area, a computer lab, a genealogy research area and a drive-through pick-up and drop-off window. The old library will be remodeled and used by Derby City Hall and Senior Services.
Bennett said the biggest change library patrons will notice is space. The old building, which had 9,000 square feet, needed seven-foot stacks to hold its books.
The new building, which has more than 36,000 square feet, has 52-inch stacks that make it possible to see throughout the building.
Derby City Council member Cheryl Bannon, a library boosters, said Derby had about 8,000 residents when the old library opened in 1990. The city has since grown to more than 22,000, she said, and the demand for more library space eventually became overwhelming.
"It was something that was needed," she said.
In the old building, Bennett said, storytelling and summer reading programs had to be held outside the library.
"We just didn't have enough space," she said.
In the new building, she said, "everyone has an area for themselves — from crawlers to 1 1/2 to 2-year-olds. Teenagers have an area, and adults have area to just sit back and read a newspaper."