Branch library renovations spawn cafe-vending area, gallery, local history room

2013-04-09T17:41:00Z 2013-04-09T22:18:14Z Branch library renovations spawn cafe-vending area, gallery, local history roomChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | Renovations at the Lake County Public Library's Merrillville branch have produced new and enhanced features for patrons and library staff.

Audio-visual materials were moved to the main level, which also has new computers in the public computer station and a cafe-vending area where patrons can relax, said Dawn Mogle, assistant director of central library services.

The cafe-vending area has many outlets where patrons can plug in their own computers or other devices, Mogle said. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building.

The installation of several new windows is providing "tons of light" in the building, Mogle said. A sky light was replaced during the project, which started in 2011.

The renovations also produced the Indiana Room, which will feature items regarding local history, Mogle said.

Showcasing work created by local artists will be the main focus in the recently established Lawrence Acheff Gallery. Acheff is a former library director.

In 1969, the library received a gift of 35 original South Shore posters, which the Friends of the Lake County Public Library recently had restored, Mogle said.

Some of the posters will be on display at the gallery.

Computers were being installed Tuesday in a computer lab for library staff to complete training.

Mogle said the library's administration area was moved to the former location of the periodicals department. A new board room is included in the space.

The entire building has new carpeting, ceiling tiles and an energy-efficient HVAC system.

The library recycled some materials, such as doors and windows, that were used in the building before the renovations started.

"Whenever we could, we kept things that were in decent shape," Mogle said.

Library officials will celebrate the renovation work during an invitation only gala Friday.

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