Is Marathon’s New $7.5m Library the Most High-Tech Bldg in the Keys?

Thanks to Sara Matthis, editor/photographer, https://keysweekly.com.

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The amount of high-tech, thoughtful detail in the new Marathon branch of Monroe County Public Libraries is stunning. The $7.5 million facility will open to the public on Saturday, June 26 at 10:30 a.m. with a special ribbon cutting.

“This represents 28 years of my experience with libraries,” said Kimberly Matthews, senior director of strategic planning and libraries for Monroe County. “That’s why I love it so much.”

Marathon librarian Lorenia Diaz is reluctant to name just one feature that she loves the best. She settles on a three-dimensional sculpture in the ceiling of the children’s room that depicts an ocean scene.

“The oculus. The oculus is my favorite,” Diaz said.

The county’s hope is that the library will become the “community’s living room.” To that end, there are multiple meeting spaces — four small, private conference rooms; a ground floor meeting space that can be sectioned off from the larger space for presentations; an activities center up stairs for yoga or science lab or Dungeon and Dragons games; and a teen center equipped with video games.

At the same time, the library offers plenty of nooks and crannies where patrons can be “alone, together” whether that’s seated on the couch with USB ports, or in a futuristic desk/chair.

“It’s the same concept as Starbucks. People don’t want to be isolated from one another, but they still want privacy to work or relax,” said Matthews.

The crew of 9 library staff is working hard leading up to the grand opening — shelving books and planning programming.

The Marathon library will have extended evening hours, in anticipation of the community’s embrace.

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