No More Shushing
Dexter library director Paul McCann, who oversaw the planning and construction of the multilevel building that was supported with a new millage, says the library has seen a 60 to 70 percent increase in overall use this year. He thinks the library's transformation from a "room full of books" when he started fifteen years ago to its current form--with increased staff, programs, and collections--is attracting people who otherwise wouldn't visit. Expanded computer resources are drawing more adults who either have slow or no home Internet connections. Wireless access is attracting another group of computer users and businesspeople, McCann says.
Nestled at the edge of woods, adjacent to Warrior Creek Park, the library is surrounded by wall-to-wall windows that look out on trees and Mill Creek. Yet the building is still easily accessible to the business district.
For those who desire a quiet space, there's a silent reading room with comfy chairs and a fireplace. Teens have their own room with computers, circular booths, and funky furniture in lime green, gold, and purple colors--and frequent programs: duct tape art, Wii sports, and an open mike for poetry, music, and stories.
"Teens were overlooked for a long time at libraries," says Julie Darling, Dexter's young adult librarian. "They don't want to be associated with little kids. They need to know they have their own space, or we will lose them." Darling says groups of preteens and teens hang out or sit at computers after school. Librarians in Saline, Chelsea, and Dexter agree libraries are a safe place for them to go.