Workers remodel Middletown library

Middletown library getting upgrades heading into series of holiday events

The Middletown branch is “streamlining” operations by combining the check-out desk and information desk into one-point of service in hopes of making it easier for customers and staff.

Patrons with overdue fees can participate in the library’s “Food For Fines” program. From Friday through Dec. 13, for each non-perishable item a patron donates, $1 of outstanding fines will be forgiven, said Cari Hillman, public relations manager.

The system will be distributing the contributions throughout its service area to multiple food pantries and charitable organizations including Reach Out Lakota in West Chester, the EMA Food Pantry in Trenton, Church of the Nazarene Food Pantry in Monroe, and the Salvation Army of Middletown.

Canned goods, boxed mixes, toiletries and paper goods are all welcome contributions. Donated items can be used for up to $10 worth of fines per patron. Fees for lost or damaged materials cannot be forgiven through this program, Hillman said.

MidPointe launched the program in 2011 and in eight years the campaign has resulted in more than $43,000 in forgiven fines and more than 49,000 items donated.

All MidPointe locations are host sites for Toys for Tots donation bins until mid-December. Additionally, MidPointe will be holding “Stuff the Bookmobile” for Toys for Tots events next month. Employees and representatives from Toys for Tots will be outside the Liberty location from 9:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 14 and at the Middletown branch from 1-3:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

People may donate new, unwrapped gifts or sign up a child to receive presents.

MidPointe Library West Chester will soon be home to a makerspace called Innovation Pointe that will feature 3-D printers, a laser cutter/engraver, a vinyl printer, button makers, a sublimation printer and presses, a poster printer, sewing machines, and film/video conversion equipment. Use of machines in the makerspace will be free, with patrons paying for consumable items, Hillman said.

The estimated opening date for Innovation Pointe is the first of the year.

In Middletown, the original check-out and the information desks are being re-purposed into one counter that will serve both operations, Hillman said.

She hopes by having one desk closer to the front entrance it will create less confusion for the customers.

The library also is building a new self check-out area near the desk so, if needed, employees can assist customers. This way, she said, the library can “maximize” its staffing.

On Monday, several workers were dismantling the desks. The project, which cost $29,194, is expected to be complete by Wednesday, she said. The library chose this week for the work because it’s typically “a bit slower” time because of the holiday. The library hoped to disrupt as few patrons as possible, Hillman said.

Then in January, Hillman said new carpet will be installed throughout the library that opened at 125 S. Broad St. in 1983. Since then, the building has undergone a number of updates to keep the facility safe, comfortable and modernized for current technology, she said.

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