The design theme of Flora and Fauna of South Texas influenced the selection of materials, colors and special features throughout the interior of our library. The week before our re-opening, it became apparent by the ceramic tile artwork going up that the building wasn't finished yet.

The artists who received the commission for the City Public Art took our theme to heart and created artwork that further carries out our theme.

Ed and Cornelia Gates of Aloe Tile Works worked with the architect, Ray Torno, and experts in the birding field to create a mural that is true to nature. I think of it as the icing on the cake for our library.

Early in the process, our in-house birder, Jo Creglow, Phyllis Yochem, birding columnist, and Leah Pummill, president of the Audubon Outdoors Club, met with the Ed and Cornelia Gates to work out which plants and birds go together. Suggestions for particular birds to represent our area were tossed about. The end result was carried out with the north panels depicting birds that are brush or inland birds.

There was a fortuitous mistake made by the tile subcontractor's workers. The last panel on the southwest side was supposed to be the same as other panels around the building that have the dark-blue to while tiles.

When we realized what had happened, we thought it was for the best and left it as it was. Later when Ed and Cornelia Gates came out to see the building after the landscaping was finished, they decided they needed to incorporate that panel into the mural. They were so enthused about the project that they did about twice what was originally planned. The barbed wire fence with silhouettes of different birds on the north panels and the telephone lines on the southwest panels were added to give the mural some depth and add more birds.

At the ribbon cutting, Cornelia Gates said that she and her husband were donating the additional work as a dedication to their parents, Tom and Judy Henderson and Stanley and Maryjane Gates, and as a donation to the library and our community.

I think it's wonderful that these artists were so willing to work with the architect and the birders to create these impressive murals. We hope the children will walk around the building to see the birds and then come inside and attempt to identify the birds that they did not recognize. There is a list of the birds at the circulation desk if you want a quick identification source.

Lynda Whitton is the branch director for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.