UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Big Changes Coming to the Vigo County Public Library!

Big changes are coming to the Vigo County Public Library Youth Services Department! To be sure the youngest patrons and their families are prepared to see the space under construction, the library has asked to sponsor this post and use the Haute Happenings network to help spread the word. We are so thankful for their support of and belief in Haute Happenings! 

I have good news and bad news for you. Which do you want to hear first?

Since you’re not actually here to give an answer, I guess I’ll start with the bad news: the youth services department of the VCPL (the downstairs portion) will be closed for 10-12 weeks starting in the middle of August.

I know, I know. I’ll miss it too. Whenever my family needs a cool, dry, free play area, we head to the library.

But have no fear! This closure is temporary. And when it reopens, I think we’ll all be pleased with the result.

Construction at the Vigo County Public Library

How can I be so sure? That’s where the good news comes in!

Changes Coming to the Vigo County Public Library Youth Services Department

For starters, there is going to be twice as much square footage. I got a sneak peek of the area today! Most of the added space will come from back hallways and offices that the public can’t see or use. This is the first big update since 1979, and one of the biggest changes will be more usable space. That’s worth celebrating!

The Youth Services coordinator (Holly) is going to take us on a little tour and share the rest of the good news.

Ms. Holly: “Should we start with the entrance to the department?  Remember, I’m a mom of twins. As infants, they rode in a giant stroller we referred to as “the bus.” When you come down the elevator with a stroller, you have to navigate two doors to enter the department. That can be a nightmare with a stroller! We will leave the stairwell entrance intact, but we will also create a hands-free entrance from the hallway!  That way you can come off the elevator and head straight into the department. Amazing, right?”

Rachael’s Translation: New doors! At last! I, too, fought the old, big doors. And most of the time the doors won.

Changes coming to the Vigo County Public Library Youth Services Department

Remember how the VCPL is now a family place library? The family place library resources will be front and center in the new space.

Ms. Holly: The entrance to the department will feature AV materials, new books, and our Parent/Teacher collection. It includes topics from making your own baby food to potty training to effective discipline tactics for tweens and teens as well as educational materials (like flashcards, curriculum guides and instructional resources).

Rachael’s translation: I bet there’s something in there to help me as my tot moves from the “Terrible Twos” into the “Tantrum Threes”!

For the next stop on our tour, you’ll need to see a picture of the new floor plan.

Changes coming to the Vigo County Public Library Youth Services Department

Ms. Holly: “You can see on the drawing, top right, that there are 4 small rooms being constructed. There are two restrooms.One is a true family restroom with a junior potty as well as an adult-sized potty. This restroom will also have a diaper changing station and jump seats.  (The industry actually calls them “Child Protection Seats.”) Have you seen these?  They are seats to contain your little person while you use the restroom or change another child’s diaper.

There is also a separate lactation room. This is a semi-private space with comfortable seating for moms who prefer a more discreet environment or who need to contain an energetic toddler while they nurse an infant. Our plan is to have some toys and books available in the lactation room to occupy siblings. This space in particular was patron-driven. We support a mom’s right to breastfeed wherever she is most comfortable. But we have had several requests for a more semi-private place, so we have included this space as an optional accommodation.”

Rachael’s translation: Some nursing moms want privacy and some moms are more comfortable with nursing in public. The Vigo County Public library wants to support all breastfeeding moms and make them feel comfortable no matter where/how they choose to nurse.  Also, the struggle to contain a squirming toddler while nursing a baby is real. The new space should help support nursing moms as they wrangle multiple kids.

Big changes coming to the Vigo County Public Library!

So where do you go to check out books? The circular circulation desk, of course!

Ms. Holly: “The circulation desk is the big circle in the center of the drawing.  Behind the circle (to the top of the drawing) is an early literacy space, where the picture books/toys/ manipulatives for the 0-5 crowd will be housed. The game computers will be moved to this area as well.

To the left of this area is an empty room that is a dedicated space for programs! YAY! The library staff is so excited about the flexibility this space provides. Our programming is now dependent on the availability of meeting rooms, and those rooms often book a year in advance.

Remodel update for the Vigo County Public Library Youth Services Department

We are also paying attention to sensory integration issues that are concerns for some of our patrons. The  floor will be covered with a subtle patterned tiling, and we are planning to incorporate adjustable lighting (dimmers).  We will also install a smart tv.  This space will accommodate many of our storytime programs and our family events; however, whenever it is not in use, it will be open for free play and exploration and stocked with manipulatives, musical instruments, and fine and gross motor equipment.

One of my librarians is a former art teacher, and she is super excited that a tile floor will allow for more “messy” projects, like painting and sculpting and allows us to focus our programming efforts around STEAM initiatives.”

Rachael’s translation: The library wants to meet the needs of kids who are sensitive to sensory experiences and stimulation. This is very good. The new space will also provide more opportunities for messy projects and play-based learning experiences for all kids.

This all sounds dandy, but what about the big kids?

Changes to the Vigo County Public Library Youth Services Department

Ms. Holly: “The bigger kids won’t be left out! We are increasing the number of internet computers and re-configuring the work stations. The physical divide of the room helps us feel more comfortable providing tabletop activities for the older kids that may include smaller parts or pieces.

Rachael’s translation: Families with school-age kids will love the changes too, and my little kids won’t outgrow the new space anytime soon!

Final thoughts from Ms. Holly: “As you can see, we have put a lot of thought into the renovation and we have worked hard to improve our customer experiences. I am excited to be a part of this project as a mom of toddlers and as a library employee. I am looking forward to the future here at VCPL.”

Rachael’s translation: To provide the best possible service to the community, places like the Vigo County Public Library (VCPL) need to be willing to grow and change. So while it might be an inconvenience to Hauteans like me to have our library under construction, I know that the hassle is temporary and the upgrade is worth it!

While the youth services department is closed, children and parents won’t be able to browse the materials. A small collection of Youth Services materials (picture books and early readers) is housed in the Lifelong Learning Center on the main floor. Patrons will be able to visit this space, browse the titles, and make selections for checkout. You can request a specific title and the library staff will bring it to you for check out.

Unfortunately, the remodel means that there will be no fall story time this year.

Do you have friends who love to hang out in the library? If so, please share this post so that they’re prepared and excited when the construction begins!