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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Slipping out the library door, longtime librarian retires

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After 23 years, the Kennedale librarian wants to quietly move on. But for someone who has been at the forefront of establishing Kennedale?s accredited library system, Gwen Bevill may have a hard time doing that. {{more}}

Opening of Kennedale Library 1992

(l-r) Councilman Robert Mundy, KISD Trustee Gary Whightsil, Mayor Steve

Radakovich, Councilman Tom Boone, Commissoner Marti VanRavenswaay, Congressman

Martin Frost, FOLK VP Bill Abbott and President Kay Hunn)

No city library …
 
Kennedale didn?t have a real library until 1992. There are many who contributed time, money and books in this community effort. Two who were credited with starting the effort in 1989 were Sandra Bitenc (former KISD Board member) and Cheryl Abbott (former Kennedale Chamber Director). They began to collect books and look for a place to locate the library. The Kennedale City Council stepped up and volunteered the old Kennedale jail facility located on New Hope Road. The two then recruited others to renovate the old building, including Bevill, who had recently moved to Kennedale with her husband, Mike. The Friends of the Kennedale Library (FOLK) was created to provide continuity and support.
Groundbreaking 2006 for new library (l-r) Gwen Bevill, Candy Yates

(Folk), Councilman John Clark, Vera Coker (Kennedale resident) and Mayor Jim

Norwood

Needed 7,500 books …
 
To earn accreditation, the library needed 7,500 books, regular hours (20 minimum) and a paid employee. Then with funds raised through candy sales, BBQ cook-offs and other fund-raisers plus donations, Bevill became the first paid employee in 1994. That same year, the Kennedale library earned accredited status from the State of Texas. In 2006 the Kennedale Library moved into a brand new building at 316 W 3rd Street in Kennedale (next to TownCenter Park). The building was dedicated to Bill Abbott, former city councilman and mayor, who was instrumental in the establishment of the library and the new building.
 
With the backing of FOLK, Bevill has established an excellent small library that has a huge reach. Don?t mistake size with utility. At the Kennedale Library you have:
  • access to over 17,000 items onsite
  • access to 500 DVDs and more than 250 audiobooks on the shelves of the Kennedale Library.
  • access to the libraries to Arlington and Mansfield with a Kennedale library card that is honored at any of those libraries through a partnership established in 2014. This expands Kennedale?s catalog reach to more 652,000 items.
  • access to 13,500 eBook through the Texas on the Go (Overdrive) program and an agreement with the Arlington Library system.
  • access to 250,000 items with the combined online catalog from 13 libraries in the North Texas Library Consortium, something that Bevill was instrumental in starting.
  • access to materials for loan through the Interlibrary Loan Program for the State of Texas which includes 190 libraries throughout Texas. Kennedale was part of the original pilot program for this program in 2010.

Retirement reception (l-r) Rebecca

Clark (Advisory Board Chair), Robert Mundy (FOLK/former mayor), Liddy Middleton (Library staff), John Clark (Former mayor/supporter), Krystal Crump (City Finance Director), Kelly Stiles (Library Staff), Laura Smith (Library Staff), Donald Rawe (Advisory member), Shirley Jackson (Advisory member) and Amanda King (new Librarian).

small library, huge footprint …
 

The some of the Kennedale library services (some free others with nominal fee) include

  1. Library card (renewal every two years)
  2. Books and loan items up to 10 at a time with a 21 day limit – overdue fee .25 cents per day
  3. Public Wifi
  4. Knowledgeable staff to help with research
  5. Weekly storytime for toddlers
  6. Tumble Books Online Storytime and free games for children
  7. Netfit ? online exercise/fitness program for kids and adult
  8. Homework/classroom tutorials and games in all most subjects
  9. Life after School for high schoolers planning their future from college financing to technical and trade options
  10. Online computers (fee)
  11. Disc cleaning and polishing (fee)
  12. Copying and fax services with limited copies (fee)
  13. Toll Tags for the North Texas Tollway Authority (purchase)
This is just part of the reach of the Kennedale

Public Library, the little library with a huge footprint. Go online and explore, better yet go by and explore. And, if Gwen is there, say thanks.

 
The Kennedale Library is open 5 days a week, Tuesday through Saturday. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays (Tue-Thur) and 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends (Fri-Sat). Closed Sunday and Monday.

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