Monday afternoon at the East Lansing Public Library, staffers were busy re-shelving books and contractors were moving furniture into place. Saturday, the library will unveil its $1.5 million renovation, its first major renovation since 1997, made possible by an anonymous donation. The library has been closed since Aug. 26 to put the finishing touches on the project, which started in December.“We would like to thank our patrons for bearing with us during the renovations and the intermittent closures of the library over the past ten months,” said Kristin Shelley, director of the library. “We can’t wait to unveil the new and improved space to community members.”
The library will give the public its first look at the changes Saturday with a grand re-opening ceremony. The event includes a ribbon cutting, as well as family activities and sweet treats from Grand Traverse Pie Co. and Bake N’ Cakes.
The renovations include a revamped children’s area, an expanded teen area, new meeting rooms and the addition of a cyber café, where patrons can gather at tables wired with power outlets and connect to the improved WiFi.
“Libraries are turning into community hubs,” Shelley said. “I love the idea of a cyber café where people can get together and talk about important issues.”
The library is also expanding its onsite Maker Studio, which Shelley jokingly described as “a closet” before renovations. The new 1,000-square-foot space, which will absorb the resources of the library’s downtown East Lansing Maker Studio 2.0, includes computers, 3D printers and an isolated studio for recording music or making podcasts.
Other improvements are based on community input, including an inclusive, handicap-accessible bathroom and a private mothers room for nursing and caring for infants. There are also aesthetic improvements, including colorful light fixtures and a more open floor plan. Shorter bookshelves and strategic placement of furniture allow natural light to better disperse through the library.
“It’s a more open feel to the library,” Shelley said, scanning the rooms where workers were stacking books and moving desks and shelves into place. “Our sight lines are really good.”
East Lansing Public Library Grand Re-Opening
Saturday, Oct. 1
East Lansing Public Library
950 Abbot Road, East Lansing
(517) 351-2420, elpl.org/renovate