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Randi Monley always has a smile on her face – but she gets especially excited when she talks about the current renovation of the Minot Public Library’s Children’s Library.
The Children’s Library is closed as crews work to renovate the entire space. During the first week of the closure, library staff moved more than 40,000 items and bookshelves. With the demolition phase essentially completed, work will now begin on rebuilding the space into Monley’s vision that includes a forest theme complete with new paint, carpet, woodwork, and other décor changes that will transform the space into a forest of imagination. There will also be a custom play area for patrons.
“Research shows if a child has a fabulous experience at their local library, they will grow into lifelong learners and lifelong library users. Who doesn’t want that for the children in their community,” said Monley, who runs the Children’s Library.
The space will work to enhance the five main components to early literacy – writing, singing, talking, reading, and playing, she said.
“When this project is complete, our books will be easier to find. We’ll have nooks for kids to read. We’ll have a stage where kids can put on performances if they want to. The whole thing together, it’s going to make the library experience so much more for children and families,” she said. “We’ve got some big things coming for the play area. I can’t wait for the kids to see the changes in this area. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a little hope and a plan.”
The project consists of two parts. The first phase will remodel the interior of the Children’s Library and is expected to be completed by Oct. 27. The second phase involves the entrance to the Children’s Library, with an expected completion date of Nov. 27. After the first phase is completed, the Children’s Library will be open, but patrons will need to enter through the southwest entrance.
During the project, access to the meeting rooms is restricted to the southwest entrance and the second floor elevator. There is no longer be a foyer art display during the project.
The project been in the works since at least 2020, and Monley has been writing grants and securing other funding. At least half of the project’s approximately $388,000 cost came from grants and donations from the Glenn Perkins Foundation, Minot Area Community Foundation, Friends of the Minot Public Library, Minot Optimist Club, Magic City Lions, Junior Golf Association, Hess Force, SRT, Enbridge, Verendrye Electric, Basin Electric, Scheel’s, and private donations.
Monley is excited for the improvements, which will enhance the overall experience for library patrons.
“Especially in the children’s library, I find that we are a refuge for families, especially for home-school families, for stay-at-home parents, foster parents, etc,” she said. “Kids are safe here, and they feel loved here. They know we have their best interest at heart. We provide a space for a parent to sit down and connect with friends while their kids play and read.”
“One of the most amazing parts of a library is that the experience is free,” she added. “We’ll help you get a library card if you want to take things home. If you don’t have a card, that’s cool, too. We don’t set any barriers for our users. We want everybody to use the services they are entitled to as community members.”