Photos courtesy of Salem Public Library
Follow the brick path leading to the Children’s Area of the Salem Public Library and discover a bright, new cheery oasis for young children and parents to bond together over their love for books and reading. Family-friendly features of the new arrangement are the single gated entry to prevent toddlers from wandering off, the family-room style layout of comfortable, colorful seating in sizes perfect for little ones and their parents to read together, new book display areas and a self-checkout station. Over 700 new books were purchased for the unveiling. Funds for the project were provided by the Friends of the Salem Library (FOSL) and the City of Salem.
The final touches completed by staff on July 10, 2022, further enhance the now complete reorganization of the collection which Emily Metrock, the Youth Services Librarian, began in 2018. Children’s easy books are now arranged in easy-to-find subject categories popular with kids (favorite friends, superheroes, dinosaurs, Go
Go Go (transportation) and animals along with additional topics that are helpful for parents and teachers (Growing Up, Bedtime, Early Learning, Songs and Nursery Rhymes, Fairy Tales etc.)) Juvenile Fiction is also now arranged according to type of fiction, and an early reader section added.
While the planning process spanned several years, the physical labor occurred in just five weeks. In that time, nearly every shelving unit was moved, (a process that included relocating all the books and unbolting the shelves from the floor), the books reorganized to fit the new flow of the shelves, new furniture unboxed and organized, new décor and posters hung, and over 700 new books purchased and shelved. The renovation plan was the brainchild of Metrock, and the labor accomplished by staff in house.
According to Metrock, the pay-off is seeing every day, multiple times a day, families taking time to sit and read with their children: “Providing our families with a safe, inviting place to read was our ultimate goal, and I’m proud to say we accomplished that.”