Colorful furniture with intricate engravings. New computers sit ready for use. These are just a few of the features of the new Rotary Children’s Library room. With full support of the community, over 100 people attended the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Sierra Madre Public Library.
The project to renovate the Children’s Library room first started two years ago, when the library received a Family Place grant. The grant provided $15,000 in funds for books, materials, and other early learning tools. Following this seed money that help started the project, the library began fundraising for the construction of the room and reached out to community members. Major donors included the Sierra Madre Rotary Club, who donated $20,000, and the Sierra Madre Community Foundation, who donated $15,000. During the months of April and May, the Children’s Library room was closed and construction took place over six weeks.
“Rotary didn’t just help monetarily, they also helped us move. They came and packed 400 boxes of books,” remarked Youth Services Librarian Meegan Tosh. “We’re really pleased that the community wanted this and stepped up to fund it – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
In the beginning of the program, Library Director Carolyn Thomas thanked community members and local donors for their support. As well, Sierra Madre Mayor Josh Moran gave opening remarks and spoke about the history of the library. Moran discussed how the library was founded ten to fifteen years prior to the incorporation of the city.
“It’s an institution that we’ve supported in town,” commented Moran. “The Children’s Library room is a lot of things – it’s a place of refuge, a place to go, a place to hang out with the family. It instills a life long love of learning and reading at a young age.”
Upon entering the room, patrons noticed the beautiful shades of blue, gray, and green, which were designed to reflect the town’s location in the Foothills. The renovated room is also organized with different zones including a computer zone, a preschool zone, and a study zone. The goal was to utilize the space as best as possible and make the room more functional for young children.
“It serves a wide ranger of patrons,” said Alice Kuo, Deputy Director of the Sierra Madre Public Library. “It allows us to provide better service to the community.”
Families and friends took advantage of the new space immediately, and many are in agreement that the improvements of the room are beneficial to all.
“It gives kids move space to enjoy themselves. It’s more open, more comfortable,” said Ruchi Parikh, a local teen that spent part of the night immersed in reading a book with her sister and who plans to come back.