Renovations give Fairfield Lane Library brighter, fresher look

Fairfield Lane Library patrons may get a sense the library is a bit brighter nowadays — and they would be correct, said the library’s branch manager.

The library just wrapped up a year-long renovation project that added fresh paint, new furniture, lighting and carpet, and rearranged its bookshelves, which Fairfield library manager Valerie Simmons says does brighten up the 16-year-old library.

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“It’s really a refresh,” said Simmons, who said the only actual construction on the $600,000 project was to wall-in an old alcove by the Village Green entrance of the library to create her new office.

This was the first major renovation for the entire library — except for the Teen Zone which received an upgrade a few years ago — since it opened 16 years ago.

In addition to the obvious changes of paint, carpet and furniture, Simmons said there are also a couple subtle changes, one of which could lead a patron to believe it’s their “lucky day.”

“We added a book collection called the Lucky Day books, so these are hot items that typically would have a number of holds or requests on them, and these we keep out from that holds queue,” said Simmons of the collection by the returns area. “So people come in, find it, it’s a two-week checkout. It’s their lucky day they found a book they didn’t have to wait for.”

The renovations started in the fall of 2016 and officials just recently debuted the year-long renovation last week and showcased the changes on Monday to the Lane Library Board of Trustees. Renovations also included the Children’s Library section.

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The “refresh” includes more outlets — including standard and USB outlets — to wired furniture, and the 90-degree reconfiguration of the bookshelves is more practical than giving a clean, linear look.

“So we’ve got a clear shot through the whole stack area, which is nice for security, and it’s been good for lighting,” said Simmons. “It also just makes more sense for patrons (as they browse the stacks).”

Drive-through customers will also see a change, Simmons said. Books can be now dropped off at an in-wall drop box as opposed to the stand-alone deposit box that was checked only periodically, she said.

“That helps with the security of the materials, keeping them out of the weather, and we’re able to check them in so much quicker,” Simmons said.

Now that the remodeling is complete, library officials say they plan to add more programming and explore different community partnerships, including with more STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) programming.

“The punch list is filled out — now let’s get creative and let’s see where we can go,” Simmons said.

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