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IC Library renovations completed soon

BY ABIGAIL MEIER | SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 5:00 AM

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While a 2-year-old bounces down the hallways of the Iowa City Public Library and a couple reads in the new magazine lounge, a loud humming comes from a drill as renovations continue.

The library, 123 S. Linn St., is undergoing a number of renovations that began two years ago and are on track for a timely completion.

The Better Building, Better Services project aims to improve customer service at the library.

The Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation has invested roughly $450,000 in improvements over the past two years. Officials estimate renovations will be completed in mid-October.

“The new children section is the best I’ve seen from any other public libraries I have been to,” said Iowa City resident Noor Miller.

Library Director Susan Craig said the renovations will include new teen and children sections, updated technology, added furniture and carpet, and reorganized help desks.

Craig said the project is in its final stages, with renovations to the teen and children’s section nearly complete. Technology, furniture and carpet have already been updated in the library.

The Iowa City library has the largest circulation in the state and assisted 720,000 people last year. Craig said because the circulation is already high, she doesn’t anticipate the renovations to affect the circulation.

Officials have encountered only one issue with the renovations. A piece of glass to be placed in a glass wall in the teen’s section hasn’t arrived. Craig said the library will continue without it.

Miller, her husband, and two children visit the library’s updated children’s section at least once a week. Miller said her family spends most of their library visits in the children’s section because of the plentiful number of children’s activities available.

“One of the purposes of these renovations was to improve technology, particularly for teens and children,” Craig said. “Hopefully, we are giving access to kids who might not have that access at home.”

One particular example of new technology is the new e-signs. Kara Logsden, the community and access services coordinator at the library, said the e-signs are used to share information about library collections, programs, and services and how the public can support the library.

There are also two interactive e-signs with maps that visitors can use to find destinations within the library along with a calendar they can change instantaneously.

“We’re very excited to roll them out,” Logsden said. “I think that there’s going to be a little bit of a learning period for us to figure out what’s the best way to present the information, but we think that it’s a great way to share information about the library.”

She said the library was charged a startup cost and after that an ongoing maintenance fee for the e-signs. The Cedar Rapids Public Library and the Pappajohn Business Building on the University of Iowa campus also display e-signs.

Thus far, the improvements have received a positive response.

“I really like the magazine area because it’s away from everything,” said UI senior Maureen Jennings. “They also put a great emphasize on creating a new study space.

Craig said the new innovations have brought advancements in resources to the public.

“I like to see how the plans that you make that are on paper or on a computer file are realized by real carpet and furniture,” she said. “It’s great to then see people using the new space effectively.”


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