Special Library Commission meeting focuses on needs of Southeast Warren – Macomb Daily
The Warren Library Commission recently held a special meeting to discuss options for bringing library services to the city’s most southeastern corner.
The neighborhood, which lies in the area of Schoenherr and Toepfer roads, has been without a library for over 20 years, since the closure of the Edgar A. Guest Library on Stephens. Currently there is no library east of Van Dyke Avenue in the town of Warren. For several years, residents have been asking for the return of library services, including activities such as “story time” and crafts.
More recently, resident Vera Speagle pioneered the idea of a book kiosk that could be located in Winters Park on St. Andrews Avenue and give residents 24 hour access to books and other items. library like DVDs. Currently, Library Director Oksana Urban is awaiting a response to a grant application that would fund a mobile library to serve the Speagle neighborhood as well as other areas of the city. Discussions between Van Dyke Schools Superintendent Piper Bognar and Mayor James Fouts regarding a possible library annex at McKinley Elementary School, which is adjacent to Winters Park, are ongoing.
Speagle joined Tuesday’s Zoom meeting and said she was open to any ideas and willing to work with anyone to bring a library to her neighborhood, but time is running out.
“I love all of the ideas that have been presented, but we really need a library now,” said Speagle. “We have been neglected for so long that we can’t wait for a library to be built or even an annex to be built. The Contextual Library is something we can do right now for those residents who have been excluded from the activities of the city for so long. We need something ASAP and something that draws people to the park and creates a community atmosphere.
Library Commission Chairman Frank Pasternak said he was open to new ideas and would like to hear more feedback from residents regarding their specific needs and asked them to write letters to the Library Commission and also discussed the possibility of holding a meeting at Winters Park. give residents the opportunity to voice their concerns.
“There have been discussions about using the parks for kiosks or for temporary structures like take-out reading centers, leave,” Pasternak said. “It’s kind of a temporary fix and it’s also a small part of the library and its resources would be very limited. I think the approach of using a bookmobile is more acceptable and I think it is the best opportunity to provide reading material and access to resources to people who need them.
Annette Majka, a member of the Libraries Commission, said that whatever other library services may be added in South East Warren, a mobile library is needed and is a priority for the whole city. Ultimately, she would like to see something more permanent in the Winters Park neighborhood, perhaps a kiosk to begin with, with the goal of working at a brick and mortar library.
“I think we need a bookmobile no matter what, but it cannot replace a fixed library,” said Majka. “Citizens need something that’s there all the time. I like the idea of a popup, but I am concerned about vandalism. If we could find a solution with the idea of the annex at McKinley, I think that would be the ideal situation. It would be permanent, there would be library staff there; for me it would be the ultimate. Can we afford all of this? It’s all about numbers. “
Pasternak said at the August 3 special meeting that the commission will gather feedback from residents and then develop an approach that takes into account the library’s budget, including grant opportunities, as well as the neighborhood’s most urgent needs.
“We have to get the ideas of the residents and then start to move forward and find the best way to approach this,” Pasternak said. “We are for anything that makes sense and will work as hard as possible to provide library services to residents. A book box is a step forward in providing resources, but it is limited. A bookmobile would be more in line with what I thought as it would have greater functionality and the idea of having an annex in a school looks even more appealing if we could make it work.
Urban said she would contact the director of the Novi Library for information on that city’s Lakeshore Lending Library, which is featured as Michigan’s first self-service library kiosk on the novilibary.org website. This library kiosk was sponsored in part by the Community Financial Credit Union.
“I’m not really in favor of a popup, but if it’s the best we can do, we should do it,” said Majka. “It could be ideal until we can get something more permanent and I’m in favor of a bookmobile no matter what. “