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New Shoreview library set to open Jan. 28
Area residents will be able to take advantage of Shoreview’s significantly upgraded library facility come Jan. 28.
Though located right beside the old library, which was built in the 1990s, the two facilities reflect very different eras, and missions. It’s not only design and style that differentiate the old and the new.
The newly built library building, at 4560 Victoria St. N., is 60 percent larger than its predecessor, coming in at 38,000 square feet. That extra space means more services, programs, amenities, staff and general personal space for consumers of books and media.
The new space
Walking through the new library, visitors will notice plenty of dispersed seating, much of which is offered through comfortable, modern, colorful and sometimes amusing chairs, benches and stools.
However, seating in the open space is not the only place to hunker down and dive into a book or enjoy a community program.
While the former library, which closed Nov. 23, had one community program room with a seating capacity of 32 people, and a pair of two-person study rooms, the new building offers a much larger community program room with a capacity of 125-plus, a book club room that can seat 12, a conference room that can host eight, and three first-come-first-serve two-person study rooms.
In addition to all the quiet concentration-centered space, the new library offers an upgrade in the children’s area, with books facing horizontally rather than vertically on the shelves so children can browse books, looking at book covers rather than thin, sometimes stapled spines, much the way vinyl records are browsed in music stores.
For children needing time away from words and pictures on pages, the library has an interactive play space in the form of a giant tree stump meant to be crawled on and through — the structure comes from the Minnesota Children’s Museum. The library is gearing up to get two more interactive structures from the museum in the near future.
And for youngsters who are tuckered out or over-excited, the library offers a new “comfort room.”
There’s also a room that can welcome about six caregivers and children for small library-offered children’s programs.
But it’s not just about the younger children, Shoreview library manager Carol Jackson said. Teens have an entire corner of the building devoted to their needs and interests.
“The teen space is easily three times the space we had in the old building,” Jackson said.
According to Jackson, a few hydraulic-like lime green swivel chairs are bound to be the center of attention, but desks for studying, reading and getting together also line the space, along with computers.
A 12-person room in the far right corner of the teen space is a place where teens can meet for various programs and events.
It’s also purposed for administrative board meetings, which means it will probably stay fairly clean and tidy.
An upgrade in content
According to Jackson, the library system has invested $50,000 in new books and audio-visual materials so far.
She said if the “Capital Campaign,” which funds additional materials, art and amenities, “continues to flourish, we will be able to add another $50,000 in materials to our collection.”
Other than new materials, what’s already been upgraded includes a media space offering additional Internet workstations in the children’s and teen rooms, as well as built-in projectors and technology in program rooms. There’s a new 3D printer, which was funded through the Shoreview Community Foundation, and a new media lab that will contain audio and video editing software.
“We’ve created spaces that we’re hoping will fulfill a variety of needs for our patrons — ample, comfortable program space for classes and programs; technology and program space for teens; comfortable, welcoming space for children to build their early literacy skills and grow to love books and reading,” Jackson said.
‘Warm and welcoming’
Though it does offer significantly upgraded space to a generally more energetic population — children and teens — the library is designed to welcome adults as well.
“We have planned this library to be a warm and welcoming space for the community,” Jackson said. “Whether patrons are coming in for a quiet place to study or read, bringing their computer to work on our laptop bar or attending children’s programming, a teen technology program, our drop-in tech labs, or a book club, we are dedicated to creating a wonderful environment for everyone.”
Jackson explained that the building and staff alike are dedicated to helping create an “inclusive space — one that is accessible not only physically for patrons with a variety of needs, but also accessible through our customer service and efficient work processes.”
Jackson reminds folks that some construction and amenities, as well as design details and media content, will be a work-in-progress over the coming weeks, months and years.
Jesse Poole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 651-748-7815.