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Mexia library damaged by arsonist gets new children’s nook thanks to generous grandparents

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 5:53 PM CST
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MEXIA, Texas (KWTX) - A local library deliberately set on fire in September 2019 has been rebuilding one book at a time since the devastating blaze and now has a new children’s nook, which the library couldn’t afford to rebuild, thanks to the generosity of some local grandparents.

Longtime Mexia resident Lisa Tweedle had been bringing her 5-year-old granddaughter, Bella, to the library every Monday to enjoy reading time and one of Bella’s favorite spots to read was a doghouse where she could sit inside and enjoy the pages of her favorite books.

When the fire consumed more than half of the library, the doghouse went with it. The library held an official re-grand opening in 2020, but Lisa noticed something was missing.

“When I attended the grand reopening for the library, I noticed they didn’t have a new reading nook area for the children,” Lisa said. “When I asked about it, they said that it was just too expensive for them, at the time, to replace it.”

Lisa had an idea to get the nook constructed and turned to her husband, Mack, to make it happen.

“My husband is very good at woodworking and so I asked them if they would they like to have him make one and us donate it to the library,” she said. “They were thrilled with that idea and I went home and told my husband, ‘hey, I volunteered you to make a new reading nook for the library!”

Mack got to work and built a nook inspired by the Curious George House. This past week, Mack and his son-in-law delivered the house and set it up in the children’s area of the library.

“He worked really hard,” Lisa said. “I love the way it turned out and I know Bella is super excited about it.”

ShienDee Pullman has worked at the library for 21 years and served as the director since 2014.

She saw the library through the tragic fire and now is thrilled to help oversee it bouncing back thanks to the care and concern of the community.

“Having this clubhouse is just the part of the children’s room that makes it the children’s room and we’re so very thankful to the Tweedle family for fixing this, and bringing it here and putting it together to get us back to normal at Gibb’s Memorial Library,” Pullman said.

Martin Anthony Ogeda, 26, of Mexia was indicted for arson in connection with the fire. He was arrested at the Mexia State Supported Living Center where he lived.

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