Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sneak peek of Library's exciting new Children's Room

Entry to the new Children's Library
After five years of planning and execution, capital campaign donors and Plainfield officials were treated to a sneak preview of the Plainfield Public Library's new children's room with a champagne reception Thursday evening.

Library Director Joe Da Rold and Library Board of Trustees President Anne Robinson thanked all those who had contributed to the campaign and the staff and volunteers who had worked so hard to bring the project to a successful conclusion.

The room is dedicated to the memory of the late Mary Vic Griswold, who had been honorary chair of the capital campaign and a gracious benefactor of the Library. Mary Vic's daughter Vicky, well known to Plainfield's cultural community, and her son Peter were also acknowledged.

Trustee President Anne Robinson with Library Director Joe Da Rold
and Trustees Beverly Calland and Vicki Rappold.

Library Director Joe Da Rold and Trustee President Anne Robinson.

Local artists Fermin Martinez and Damon Bopp were acknowledged for their contributions. Martinez created the rain forest mural which graces the walls and provides a focal point for the media center. Bopp is responsible for the eye-popping entry art and stenciled the greenery on the walls throughout the room.

Director Da Rold closed his remarks with thanks to all who had worked on the project --

...I want to thank staff members Michele Leeming, Donna Rajcevic, Marylou Heine, TinaMarie Doody, Claudia Flores, Sarah Hull, Diego Lichte, Richard Murray and especially Jeff Wassen. Our indisepensible volunteers were Len Cummings, Tressa Brown, our event committee of Vickie Rappold and Beverly Calland, and Nancy Fiske, who kept our vision focused throughout the planning process.

There is one person who has been at my side on this project every step of the way, who has shared this vision and made it come true in ways that I could not.  My deep thanks to Peter Rajcevic for all he has done.

Lastly, my gratitude to the members of the Library Board of Trustees who have always believed in the library’s mission to be the center of the community.

Nearly a hundred guests -- including Councilors Adrian Mapp, Cory Storch and Rebecca Williams -- mingled and munched before Da Rold gave his remarks, which concluded with a 'tour' of the new room. With the lights dimmed, each section's lighting was brought up as the Director explained what the focus of that section of the room was.

The media area, which features a puppet stage besides a drop-down movie screen for larger audiences and a DVD player for small groups. A computer area is lined up along a snaking wall in one corner of the room. A 'tweens tent' provides a separate space for middle schoolers, and there are comfortable chairs grouped in two bay windows facing the pool area.

Library's new system will allow patrons to check out their own books, pay fines and manage their account.

The first of the Library's new self-checkout stations was online with a staffer demonstrating to guests how patrons can check out their own books -- including printing a receipt (or emailing it to oneself), check outstanding books the patron may have, and even pay fines with a credit card.

Entry to the room is through the new doorway which Bopp decorated and that opens onto a rope bridge over the former story pit, which has been transformed into a rain forest pool.

Da Rold explained that the rain forest theme of the room's decor aligned with the Library's emphasis on highlighting environmental concerns with the expanded children's book collection.

When I remarked that the room would be exciting to librarians throughout the state, Board President Anne Robinson said that a meeting of Union County libraries was already scheduled in upcoming weeks.

The Children's Room will formally open to the public on Saturday, September 24 at 9:30 AM.

I predict the room will be deluged as word spreads.

As one attendee said, 'I think this is the best Children's Room in the state!'

I concur.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Olive said...

Bravo to Joe and all involved. Plainfield is very fortunate to have Joe and his great staff.