BEDFORD -- The Food Lion building is history.
A $12.5 million project has turned the old supermarket into a new 40,500-square-foot library that opened last week and will celebrate its grand opening Saturday.
Hundreds of patrons have already discovered what's there.
Cody DeWade likes to hang out, do homework, play video games with friends or go online using Wi-Fi in the Teens Room.
"This is a cool place," he said.
Jane Rowlett loves the nearby rotunda that houses the Friends Reading Room. A gas fireplace sets the mood, and wall shelves are filled with periodicals.
"Reading has always been part of our family's life," she said. "All our kids love to read."
Brilliant colors are used everywhere, but designers went wild with them in the Children's Area, where a puppet theater has its own room for story time.
Colors cascade on the walls of the Technology Center, where rows of computers are set aside for adult use. But computers are virtually everywhere in the new library -- 65 of them to be exact.
There are still stacks of books in every major room, but manager Maria Redburn said this place is a bridge between old and new.
"I don't think there's a library like this around us," she said.
Bedford voters approved a building project in 2001 to replace the 17,000-square-foot library. In 2007, the city bought a closed Food Lion at 2424 Forest Ridge Drive.
Coincidentally, the grand opening comes almost on the anniversary of the day Bedford closed its old library in response to a tax rollback election. Walden said the library closed March 31, 2005, and reopened a month later, thanks to an anonymous donation and fundraising.
Redburn expects the new library to quickly become so popular that such a thing would never be considered.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620