The Perry Public Library staff and supporters are looking forward to an interior renovation as soon as they raise enough money to top off what has already been set aside for the building.
"We have 70 percent of the money it will take to do the work because the Wiese Foundation has allocated us up to $75,000 for the project," said Library Director Mary Murphy. "The project we have planned will cost approximately $107,000. I’m in the process of writing grants and seeking donations to raise the remainder of the money for the project."
The process of coming up with a renovation came out of a visioning committee Murphy put together after taking over as the library director in 2010. "We realized we were kind of stuck with the space we had because we couldn’t really go up (that would require the installation of an elevator) and there really isn’t space to expand from the same level."
That meant they needed to re-utilize the existing library space. To help with the ideas, they hired George Lawson to meet with them and come up with ideas. Lawson is known for his work in creating new spaces from existing floor space, but using it differently.
Lawson spent five months studying the library’s architecture and meeting with the staff and committee made up of former library directors and other people from the community to do a space re- utilization study. "The plan we had to come up with would meet our goals and still get around extra costs," Murphy said.
The new plan will better utilize the center of the library. The trend in libraries includes having fewer book stacks; having more unique spaces for children, teens and adults; more meeting rooms and flexible walls; moveable furniture and books cases; and placing the utilities and data lines in raised floors for better accessibility.
The result is creating a place for many different people and ages. That means places for children, for teens and for adults that still satisfies the needs and wants of patrons for information, education and entertainment.
The public computer area, now set up in a zigzag pattern, will be broken up into two pods and placed in the center of the library, and two new public use computers will be added.
The east alcove will become the children’s area and be finished with whimsical book-shaped furniture. Movable walls will be added to some areas, as well as book shelves that can be moved. While the book shelves will still be the tall, long shelves on either side of the library, the center will be open and the lighting will be enhanced.
There also will be one area specifically dedicated to teens, Murphy said.
A subfloor will be added to handle the utility lines, so that computers, desks, and related electrical lines can be moved when necessary. That will allow the library to have plug-ins at tables and desks throughout the building.