Rockwell branch of public library opens new children’s room
By Amy Notarius
Rowan Public Library
ROCKWELL ó Go ahead, make some noise!
Jeff Hall, director of Rowan Public Library, is hoping the young visitors to the new Children’s Library at the East Branch Library will do just that. Hall noted that the opening coincides with National Library Week, which celebrates libraries’ contributions to communities and American democracy.
Library Public Services Manager Suzanne White, joined by Rowan County Commissioner (and Library Board member) Jim Sides and Commission Chairman Arnold Chamberlain, cut the ribbon to officially open the new East Branch Children’s Library Wednesday. Commissioner Tina Hall also joined the festivities.
White thanked the many staff and volunteers who helped turn a basement storage area into a bright, welcoming space for children. The room features an under-the-sea theme and includes specially-designed bookshelf end panels depicting sea creatures.
Children’s Librarian Sara Grajek painted each panel, architects at Ramsey, Burgin, Smith donated the floor plan for the renovation and Friends of the Library paid for new carpeting for the meeting room.
County officials had previously considered a new library for Rockwell, but it was not economically feasible, Sides said.
“I’m proud that we in Rowan County have been able to use what we have to the best advantage, especially in tough economic times,” Sides said. “I specifically asked to serve on Rowan Public Library’s Board of Trustees because they are recognized as being one of the best libraries in the state.”
The new children’s area is covers more than 1,400 square feet, twice the size of the former children’s space. It can accommodate groups of up to 20 for story time and features an area designated for children’s computers, which will be added this fall.
By moving the children’s library downstairs, the library gains room for additional materials and computers for the adult and teen areas upstairs.
Lori Shue, a teacher at Grace Academy in Rockwell, was one of the first to visit the new children’s room.
“The best part about it is that the children can safely explore the room without fear of disturbing anyone. It makes it much easier for all of us. The artwork is a huge hit with the children,” Shue notes.
Grace Academy students from kindergarten to third grade visit the East Branch Library once a month and especially enjoy the new story time space.