Amenities for children at the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library will be curtailed for most of January, but library officials say this should be more than made up for when they and their parents see why.
The library is about to begin about $230,000 in planned improvements to the second-floor children's section, as well as the library's five public restrooms.
Executive Director Doug Dotterer said the second floor will be closed for several weeks, starting Monday.
"We hope to have a grand opening for the public in mid-February, but we're anticipating a reopening (of the second floor) Feb. 1," Dotterer said. "I think the public is going to be amazed."
Lisa Grande, the library's marketing and public relations coordinator, said that "select items" will be available on the first floor while the work is under way.
Dotterer said improvements to the children's section will include new carpeting and wall graphics, with additional graphics on the walls of the stairwell between the first and second floor.
"It's going to wow children and parents alike as they come up the stairs," Dotterer said.
The graphics will align with those in the nearby Children's Storytime Room -- renovated last spring -- which has walls painted to look like a woodland scene and showing a representation of Spike, the library's turtle mascot, and her animal friends.
The new carpeting will include the image of a stream leading children to various play areas.
"We wanted to integrate with our Spike theme throughout," Dotterer said.
Aging furniture also will be replaced and there will be some reorganization of materials to make the most popular items more accessible.
Improvements made to the restrooms include new paint, the installation of energy-efficient hand dryers, new infant changing tables, and sinks and toilets that will be touch controlled to save water.
The family bathroom off the children's section also will receive a smaller, more child-friendly toilet.
Dotterer said the children's section and restrooms are "the last part of the library to receive renovations."
Besides the storytime room, which cost about $60,000, other projects completed last year were a new $16,330 computer instruction room on the second floor and a variety of improvements totaling about $220,000 on the first floor. This included new carpeting, furniture and reference desks and a revamped checkout area that includes the addition of a station that is more wheelchair accessible.
Other improvements included a rest area opposite the checkout desk, an area behind it where patrons can plug in laptop computers and a 14-seat conference room.
Dotterer said that the improvements, most of which are being paid for out of money put aside in the library's operating budget, but with some donations, are the first time the library has seen such extensive changes since 1997.
"I think this is really going to excite the public," he said.
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