ANDERSON – With descriptive works of welcoming, patrons of the Anderson Public Library are excited about the newly remodeled children's department.
The work started in August with the department moving temporarily to the ground floor. The children's department returned to its second-floor space Nov. 17.
In addition to new carpeting, paint and furniture, a mural is at the entrance depicting different animals. A limited-edition library card featuring the mural will be available for children.
Sarah Later, library director, said $500,000 was budgeted for the remodeling, but the final cost will be less.
“Awesome, I've heard that word a lot,” Later said as patrons got their first look at the remodeled area.
“Part of our goal was to have a more welcoming and inviting space,” she said. “It is exciting.”
Jenny Yergin, assistant manager of the children's section, said new shelving puts the book covers at a level for children to see them and select what they want to read.
“They all notice that there is more space because it's better organized,” she said. “We got the space for the little kids and older kids.
“It's more welcoming with the color scheme. It's not overly bright, but still calming.”
There is an enlarged space for activities and programming in the redesigned department. The computers have been separated for use by different age groups. The former computer room will now be used for programming for children in grades 3-6.
Later said plans are to remodel the first floor in 2018.
“The whole downstairs needs to be touched,” she said. “We need new carpet and paint. We'll see what the consultants recommend. The one thing I want to see and our customers ask for all the time is small study spaces. We want to reallocate the space we have.”
Yergin said the goal is to attract more visitors to the children's department and increase circulation.
Later said the holiday season is the perfect time to bring kids to see all the changes.
Jenny Mihsill is a regular visitor to the children's department with her 4-year-old son, Moore.
“We really like the interactive area and the play area,” she said. “He likes the larger computer screens.”
Annie Woodell was at the children's department last week with her daughter June.
“This is our first time here since the children's section was remodeled,” she said. “I love the colors, the openness and the mural.”
Woodell said that with the new shelves, her daughter was able to go right away and pick out what to read.
“It's beautiful, they've done a great job,” she said.
Jennifer Crum is another regular visitor, bringing her children who are home-schooled.
“I love the colors and the scheme is really nice,” she said. “The soft furniture so the kids can sit, relax and read.”
Crum said it is more geared to younger children, and there are a lot of items to play with.
Her son Manasseh, 9, likes how the department is arranged.
“I like where I can find my favorite books, mostly drama,” he said.
Christi Maidlow, president of the board of directors, made a recent visit to the children's department to mentor a student.
The retired Anderson Community Schools teacher is now the children's pastor at Madison Park Church of God.
“I love the way it immediately invites the children, the colors and furniture,” she said. “It's welcoming. I like the way it's laid out for the different age populations.”
She said the new design is user friendly and the staff is engaging.
“It was a busy place before the remodeling,” Maidlow said. “I was frequently surprised with the number of people that used the children's department.”