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ICPL receives makeover

BY GRETA MEYLE | NOVEMBER 15, 2013 5:00 AM

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Marked by bright colors, modernized technologies, and all new furnishings, the Iowa City Public Library celebrated the completion of its two-year transformation.

With renovations that include a larger teen center, digital eSigns, new carpeting, more accessible help desks, and a new magazine reading room, library Director Susan Craig said this two-year project, which was displayed Thursday afternoon, has received a great response.

“The library is a community center that serves many people in Iowa City, a welcoming and safe place to accommodate the needs of people in Iowa City,” Craig said. “People say everything looks so bright and open and that everything is so easy to find — I’m very pleased with the final outcome.”

The library serves roughly 75,000 patrons a year, she said.

Overall, refurbishments cost $450,000, with Iowa City chipping in $200,000 and the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation contributing $250,000.

While the Public Library opened in its current facility on June 12, 2004, Iowa City resident John Kenyon said he believes the changes are appropriate for today.

“It was already a great facility — now it’s better. They’ve figured out over the last decade how to change things and it’s more useful and accessible,” Kenyon said. “[My children] spend a lot of time here; they love the changes.”

Kenyon’s children were not the only ones with positive reactions.

Squeals of excitement rang through the new expanse of the Children’s Room as children rolled trains across new tracks and played games for the first time on a colorful keyboard.

Offering portable DVD players and iPads for checkout, a larger board-book area, and a centralized help desk, the area’s rearrangements have even allowed space for an art wall to display works from local elementary schools.

Children services coordinator Vickie Pasicznyuk said one of the goals for the renovations was to continue to push early literacy, especially through the larger space dedicated to board books.

“I hope that [the changes] will make the collection more accessible to them, and I think a lot of it supports our push for education to be more available to kids in the realm of early literacy,” Pasicznyuk said.

The space that was previously used as the magazine reading room has been transformed into an updated teen center. The room features laptop and iPad checkout, colorful chairs and counters for studying, and an area to play video games like xbox.

Teen services librarian Brian Visser said he thinks the new space will create a comfortable and fun environment for both programming and studying.

“It’s just a much more fun space to do things,” Visser said. “We’re building a group of regulars right now, and teens haven’t known it’s open for very long, but now we’re starting our big push, and we hope they’ll take advantage of it.”

One regular at the previous library teen center, Iowa City teen Kyla Paterson, said she likes the change.

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “I’ve been using it during the school week for homework, and now I have a lot more time to get my homework done.”

Community and access services coordinator Kara Logsden said the renovation has given the staff better service for patrons especially with the new openness the space provides.

“I am most excited about how the spaces flow — you walk in, and it’s open, and it’s exciting,” Logsden said. “I think it’s a really well-thought-out remodel, and it’s made a big difference with how patrons use the building.”


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