By HOWARD BALABAN email@example.com
Medina Journal-Register — Two years of planning will pay off today, when Lee-Whedon Memorial Library reopens to the public.
The Medina library closed in late September for a complete interior overhaul.
Visitors who head back to Lee-Whedon, which will keep regular hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, will notice many changes.
The ceiling tiles have been completely replaced and the grid holding them aloft is white instead of black, creating a bit more light. In several areas of the ceiling there are “clouds” hanging down that include pendant lighting.
Next to the meeting room is a newly designated teen area, which has been partitioned with an additional wall featuring a circular opening.
Perhaps the most recognizable changes are the library’s new layout and color scheme.
Until it closed earlier this fall, the library featured a rigid shelf line and plain white walls. It now has shelves set up at an angle to maximize interior space, and the walls and carpeting are a variety of colors, including shades of blue, tan and green.
“We have a better flow now with this new configuration,” said Catherine Cooper, Lee-Whedon librarian. “There is more light and it’s a more pleasing layout since it is not so linear.”
Both the adult and children’s sections feature the angled appearance.
Cooper noted that some of the library’s new “embellishments” have not yet been completed, but they were not enough to stop the library from opening on its pre-scheduled date.
Walking around the facility, Cooper pointed to the freshly coated walls and the new carpet as “complimentary” and the additional lighting over the main desk and the stage area through soffits. She talked up the additional power that’s found throughout the library now.
“We have new furniture,” she said, gesturing toward some “power chairs” with outlets built in to them.
“We’re looking to serve a variety of users, some of whom own their own devices, and we want to make it more inviting for them,” Cooper said. “We’ve made power more accessible and are trying to adapt to changing technology.”
The power chairs will be set up in several places, such as the common area and the teen area.
The periodical section has migrated a few feet from its previous location, and it now includes new furniture for library patrons to “relax in while reading,” Cooper added.
Periodicals will serve as a divider of sorts for the fiction and nonfiction sections, which were not set apart previously.
With the project nearly complete, Cooper said she and the other library workers are exhausted but that the work has been “absolutely worthwhile.
“We’re excited to reopen and get back to library work rather than deconstruction and construction,” she said.
Cooper hopes visitors are “wowed” by the improvements. The library worked with I Design’s Patricia Corser of Knowlesville to create the new look.
Lee-Whedon Board President Mary Ellen Dale took a walk around the renovated facility earlier this week and said she’s “thrilled” with it. Seeing the library go through such a drastic change is unique, because she remembers visiting the building when it first opened in the 1960s. The interior overhaul, means a new generation can discover it all over again, she said.
“We’re ready for the next 50 years,” she said.