By Eric Hansen
Circulation and Reference Librarian
The Vicksburg District Library will be closed from May 1 through 7 for remodeling and collection maintenance. Library staff request that patrons return items such as books and DVDs at the drop-boxes in front of the building. At this time the library will be unavailable for clubs and meetings.
The library will replace the carpet and shift the layout to make the large print, periodical, and audiobook sections more convenient. Magazines and newspapers will be shelved closer to the Heritage Room so that patrons may enjoy quiet reading farther from the entrance to the library. The fiction section will be moved closer to the entrance – because of the large volume of fiction that circulates, it will be closer to the circulation desk so that patrons can browse books and check out quickly. Similarly, the non-fiction section will be moved to the quieter south end of the building where patrons can do more intensive research and study before leaving the building.
The renovations will create a new young adult area separate from the children’s services area. This youth area will be located closer to the quiet study room and where the computers are provided for the general public. The library’s quiet study room will be remodeled to create an area more convenient for small group projects and meetings.
The head of Reference and Circulation will be available near this youth area. This librarian will be available to assist all patrons with the public computers, book/DVD recommendations, academic research questions and basic genealogy, and young adult patrons with questions related to essay writing and college preparation.
Library staff will also do maintenance on the DVD collection and re-house almost 5,000 DVD titles with more than 8,000 individual discs. The new system is meant to more closely resemble the book-shelving method already used, and is more common among public libraries. Library leadership hopes that the new shelving method will make titles more convenient for patrons to browse than the current system. Staff hope that by making browsing easier, patrons will encounter a larger variety of the thousands of movies and television programs owned by the library.
Funding for library improvements became available through the efforts of Director John Sheridan, who wrote numerous grant proposals. He estimates the value of remodeling spending will be greater than $250,000 – approximately half of which will be from grant funding. Most notably, Sheridan was able to coordinate with Consumers Energy to obtain more than $50,000 for a new furnace and water heater to replace existing systems, freeing other funds to be used for projects elsewhere.
The changes slated for May are Phase Two of the Director’s planned improvements. Future improvements may include an LED lighting system with better energy efficiency, an electronic sign for the front of the building, a new phone system and a new digital camera security system.