Ben F. McDonald Library Grand Opening Saturday

One year later and with more than $1.5 million in improvements and upgrades, the Greenwood Library will be reopening its doors.

However, with the improvements comes a name change, and a new beginning to a Westside landmark that has provided generations of children fun learning experiences that last a lifetime.

"It's almost a brand new building," Director of Libraries Herb Canales said. "It looks brand new, with a lot of emphasis on young children."

When the Ben F. McDonald Public Library officially opens on Saturday, it will usher in a new era for the Westside neighborhood. More than just a name change honoring former mayor McDonald, a champion of civil rights, but it is also a way of honoring a Corpus Christi businessman and his wife, Velia and Joe Deleon.

"He worked side-by-side with Mr. Deleon. Mr. Joe Deleon, who was a pharmacist," Canales said. "And they were very big in providing education in branch libraries in Corpus Christi, so it's really very appropriate that this building, probably the only one of its kind, recognizes two people who basically worked together on the same legacy for the same purposes."

The remodeling project was funded by a $1.5 million bond approved by voters in 2008, and an additional $350,000 dollars was provided by private donors and grants. That money helped fund the space-themed children's area named for the  Deleon's.

"60-percent of the public space in this library is dedicated to children, because that's so important that they get a good start," Canales said. "Particularly the ones that are pre-schoolers, so they get a good start before they get to first grade, and are prepared to learn. They need to be prepared to learn, and that's what we represent here."

As employees were putting the finishing touches on the facility, librarians were busy stocking shelves, all preparing for Saturday's ribbon cutting and dedication, which will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday.


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