Lincoln Township library adds programs, flexibility

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A girl takes a look at the Creation Station on Monday inside the Lincoln Township Public Library. It was among the rooms that were updated this past year. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

STEVENSVILLE — There’s been a lot of work done at the Lincoln Township Public Library in the past year.

The library’s parking lot has been repaved (in addition to the creation of more spots), several rooms were renovated and new programs were added.

Library Director Mary Hill said the first change they made was to the parking lot. In the process of adding more spots, Hill said they moved the handicap parking spaces closer to the front of the building.

“We’ve been talking about it the last three years as we were talking about opening the Literacy Center,” Hill said in reference to the recent renovations. “Opening that center would leave us one meeting room short. Since then, we’ve been very pleased with the outcome.”

Then came adjustments to the Lawrence Room. Vinyl floor was added near the entryway and the kitchenette area. Additional carpeting was added and the bookshelves along the walls were relocated into the new Friends’ Treasure Shoppe.

The Friends’ Treasure Shoppe was created a year ago to supplant the former computer room.

Even the walls look a bit different inside the library at 2099 West John Beers Road. In rooms like the Early Literacy Center and the Lawrence Room, some of the walls are carpeted.

Hill said kids are allowed to attach Velcro items to the walls for fun and games. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing – instead of painted cinderblocks – Hill said carpeting the walls was also an easy way to soundproof their Community Room.

She said they got the idea when visiting West Bloomfield Public Library on the east side of the state.

“We periodically do visits to other libraries, especially if they have programs like ours,” Hill said. “We went across state to see their Early Literacy Center and while we were over there, we noticed they had carpeted walls and they explained their use. So, we took that and brought it here. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

New gel tiles were added to the floor and certain hallways in the library. When stepped on, children see different colors emerge beneath their feet.

The walls also have more than just carpet on them.

A story wall was put in along the way to the restrooms. Hill said the staff took pages out of certain kids’ books, laminated them and stuck the pages along the wall for kids to read on their way to the bathroom.

“We’ve discovered that children really learn through play,” Hill said. “As they come in and play, we hope they get the skills as they start reading.”

What was once the break room, was then turned into the Community Room for meetings and other public festivities.

Library officials took out a wall and expanded the Community Room to make way for a larger meeting room.

In the Quiet Reading Room, which remains under construction, Hill said they plan to put up a dividing wall to make separate rooms for those who wish to meet.

“We have a lot of teachers who come in and do tutoring sessions,” Hill said. “Now we have more rooms for that use. It’s just making the library more flexible for the square footage that we have. We have to adapt to use the space in a smarter way.”

The Lawrence Room can accommodate 83 people, Hill said. She added that seeing more people and needing the space for the extra visitors is a good problem to have.

“Our building is being used more as a community center now than just a library,” Hill said. “As times change, people have to adapt. In the next five years, we’re hoping to add onto the library. The library board is hoping to add a room that can maybe fit more people.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 17, 2017)

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