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Books Rise From Ashes in Dunn

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DUNN — More than a year after a devastating fire at Dunn's public library, the town's readers were hitting the books Thursday in a newly restored building.

An old stove burner in the Dunn Public Library burned more than the building last June. It burned a hole in the Harnett County town -- a hole that has taken 13 months to repair.

"It seemed like 13 years to us," said head librarian Deborah Melvin. "We've had to work so hard to get back to this day."

After the fire, the library staff set up a temporary location at Harnett Primary School.

Melvin and her staff welcomed the first patrons to the restored library Thursday morning.

Sue McNamara and her children came in and picked up where they left off.

"We used to walk down the street all the time, just to come here and check out books, go home and come back the next week to do it all over again," McNamara said as her children combed the shelves.

This is not the same library the McNamaras remember -- it is better. Librarian Melvin says good things have risen from the ashes.

"We needed to upgrade our computers, but we couldn't afford it," she said. "Now, we've got brand new computers."

Last year's fire damaged much of the library. Some tables survived, as did the circulation desk and many of the works of authors like Shakespeare, Twain -- and Wayne Newton.

"There is so much you can learn," Melvin said. "You can take a vacation in a book. If you can't afford one, you can sit down and read a book, and it's like taking a vacation."

The library is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located at110 E. Divine Streetin downtown Dunn.

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Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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