Cass District Library showcases newly renovated children’s section

Published 8:15 am Thursday, March 17, 2016

Leader photo/TED YOAKUM

Leader photo/TED YOAKUM

People who believe that a children’s library is nothing more than a listless and mundane assortment of bookshelves and tables will be in for a surprise the next time they stop by the main Cass District Library branch in Cassopolis.

With décor accented with vibrant hues of orange, blue, green and purple, the recently renovated children’s section of the local library building more than stands out, to visitors both young and old alike.

The Cass Library unveiled its overhauled children’s library earlier this month, reopening the section after nearly four months of construction. Featuring a new entryway, updated furniture, a new circulation desk and computer area, repainted walls and shelving, and several other additions, the redesigned section has already caught the attention of many younger library patrons, said Director Jennifer Ray.

“I feel like the atmosphere has changed, where you want to tarry awhile instead of coming in, grabbing what books you’re looking for and leaving,” Ray said.

The construction was part of recent series of renovations the library board approved last year for the Cassopolis branch — the first in the 35-year history of the building. While the library restrooms and break room were also updated, the children’s library’s new coat of paint is the most dramatic change, Ray said.

“Everybody loves the new colors,” Ray said.

Among the additions is a new cubby shelf in the center of the area, which contains toys and books for children to explore. The library also installed linoleum flooring in the corner where the new computer area is located, which will help with cleanup after craft projects.

The storytime room was also spruced up a bit, with a new lighter coat of paint and resurfaced benches, Ray said.

Still some work remains to get the space fully up and running, though. The library has ordered some new chairs and tables for the space, Ray expects them to be delivered and installed by the end of the month; in the meantime, a number of patrons have donated chairs for children to use.

Ray is also hoping to install more computers in the children’s library soon as well, she said.

In addition to providing an improved area to showcase material as well as helping to improve interest in children’s programming, Ray said she feels the improved children’s library will help the institution remain relevant to the literacy and entertainment needs of its youngest patrons, she said.

“Anybody who had a positive experience as a kid will more than likely continue to use and value public libraries throughout their life,” Ray said.