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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Plainfield library closing for three weeks for improvements, new jobs program lab

As with the classic 'Boss' puzzle, there is no solution
without moving all the pieces around.

Major rearrangement of the Plainfield Public Library's main reading floor to accommodate a new Job Assistance Computer Lab will close the library to the public for three weeks, from Monday, July 30 through Monday, August 19.

While the work is being done, Plainfield Public Library patrons will be welcomed at the 40 other libraries in the MURAL program and the 25 other libraries in the LMxAC consortium. Those who use e-books will be able to download them by accessing the Library's website. Arrangements have been made for the Literacy Volunteers of America program to have access to classroom space at the Plainfield campus of Union County College. And, of course, DVDs will remain available throughout the renovation from the Redbox machine near the entrance.
For more information on programs and activities, see the Library's website here.

"The library is so heavily used," says Director Joe Da Rold, "that there just is no convenient time to make changes to the layout. To minimize disruption to patrons and to control costs, the Library has tried to group together projects that maximize improvements while minimizing downtime."

The new computer lab will be located in the corner of the main floor between the circulation counter and the College Place accessibility ramps. The addition of a 30-seat lab will allow the large numbers of patrons using the public terminals for job searching greater access for longer periods of time. The current 20 public-access terminals will then be more available for other patrons. The new lab will also provide a setting for the library staff to expand the offering of basic computer skills classes, which are heavily attended by Plainfield's senior citizens.

Those who have ever worked a '15/16' puzzle or a Rubik's cube will appreciate the difficulty of moving any of the Library's book stacks to another location. Da Rold believes patrons will be thrilled with the final outcome of the collection's rearrangement, which will finally bring all the nonfiction sections -- now scattered in the four corners of the building -- together.

This will advance yet another portion of the Library Board's master plan, making the collection more user-friendly while expanding computer and Internet-access, a main driver in library usage in recent years.

I am sure patrons will be as pleased with the outcome as they have been with the makeover of the Young People's Room, which opened to wild acclaim last year, proving that public libraries are on the cutting edge of changes in how information is accessed and used.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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