MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tuesday, the Cossitt Library will reopen after many years and millions of dollars in renovations. WREG took a sneak peek inside what city leaders call the ‘people’s university.’
There is a podcast lab, sewing machines, a historical mural showcasing civil rights activists, an indoor café, and meeting rooms overlooking the Mississippi River. Plus, it’s all free to the public.
At the corner of Monroe and North Front Street, there has been a makeover to this landmark library. It is the dawning of a new day as the city’s oldest public library prepares to reopen its doors to the public.
“It has been a collective, and we are excited about the product we are going to be able to share,” said Brian Lyles, Senior Manager at the Cossitt Library.
That excitement and so much more are inside the two-story Cossitt Library. It goes without saying, books are included. In one case, there are more than 10,000.
They have an exclusive selection, a social justice area. The library’s senior manager, Brian Lyles, says that is just part of what sets this location apart, and it’s just the start.
“We want to listen to our patrons and say, ‘Okay, what is it that you are looking for?’ And as you see the world changing, you see technology becoming a huge component of that,” Lyles said.
There are rows of computers, 3D printers, and even a state-of-the-art podcast lab. It’s another effort to break down barriers and provide these resources to the community.
“You will hear people say, ‘If I only had this I would….’ well, we are eliminating that excuse, if you will, because we want to help people,” Lyles said.
It’s a way to stay connected as this is a new chapter in the library’s history.
In addition to being surrounded by thousands of books, there is so much more, including a sort of dance and performing arts zone. You could say this library is raising the bar on what this community needs.
📧 Sign up for WREG newsletters and have the latest top stories sent right to your inbox.
📲 Download the WREG App today and stay up to date with breaking news and weather.
📡 See more breaking news, local news and weather from WREG.com for Memphis and the Mid South.
That includes being brilliant with the basics, like board games, without forgetting the components a classic novel can offer.
“We see this as a vital asset,” Lyles said. “The better people are, the better they are for our community, the better they are for our city. They become the best versions of themselves.”
The library will be open Mondays thru Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.