SIDNEY — At this time of year, the Amos Memorial Public Library is counting its blessings and giving thanks for the construction and renovation that has resulted in a modern library with an array of services and technology.
Staff and patrons alike are finding that with a project of this size comes a big change in capability and versatility in their options for accessing information and making social connections.
However, Suzanne Cline, executive director of Shelby County Libraries, noted that opportunities to participate in the project still exist.
“We have some needs that came up during the renovation and were not part of the capital campaign. We are still seeking people to join this project by helping with one or more of our remaining items,” she said.
They include digital microfilm readers for the genealogy room, furniture and whiteboards in the study rooms, magazine shelving and newspaper racks, gathering stair seating and a small refrigerator for the Community Room. The STEM lab in the basement will need to be furnished with new equipment, including a laser cutter, a vinyl cutter, an embroidery machine and sewing machines.
Library officials note the usage of the library has increased dramatically. Youth materials circulation is up 33.6 percent, from 29,384 last year at the end of October to 39,268 at the end of the same month this year. Most of that increase is from both teen and children’s books.
Door counts have risen, year-to-date in October, from 95,901 last year to 107,213 for the same period this year, largely credited to the availability of large and small group meeting rooms.
Diverse nonprofit groups have scheduled the Community Room. As examples, Sidney Alive! had a strategic planning meeting and the Sidney Yellow Jackets football team was honored with a catered breakfast and dinner. Other groups have used the smaller study rooms for consultations, and patrons who just want a quiet space also find the smaller rooms a retreat from the people’s coming and going.
Although the study rooms are ideal for homework or other required concentration, people are finding a variety of spaces for meeting, studying, and reading. Comfortable seating, some with ports for personal electronic devices, and groupings of furniture for casual gatherings are available throughout the library.
“People are using all these spaces just as we had hoped,” said Cline. “Even the seating in the art gallery is a popular location for reading. We expect that area of the library to attract more interest when we begin to select and exhibit artwork.”
The genealogy room is well-used, and computer sessions are up, since more computers have been added throughout the library, most notably in the youth areas.
“We are certainly grateful that the noise and interruptions of the construction phase are gone, but the result is this beautiful and functional building that will serve as a cornerstone of community growth for years to come,” said Cline.
Cline urged interested donors to contact her at the library at 230 E. North St. or to call her at 492-8354.