Edith Wheeler Memorial Library’s renovation, creative new space and a cup of joe

Monroe Lions Club President Adria Pearlman and Friends of the Library President Lorraine Riedel present a check to Lorna Rhyins, director of Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, to cover the majority of costs for the construction, equipment and furniture for a new Makerspace, a coffee lounge and a rejuvenated teen space. Contributed

Edith Wheeler Memorial Library’s plan for a new Makerspace, coffee lounge and a revitalized teen space for its building at 733 Monroe Turnpike received a boost from a $93,000 donation from the Monroe Lions Club and Friends of the Library.

Library Director Lorna Rhyins said the gift will cover the majority of construction, equipment and furniture costs.

“We are grateful to the Monroe Lions Club for making these exciting upgrades possible,” she said in a news release. “Their generous donation will make the library a center for innovation and collaboration in the community.”

The Monroe Lions Club President Adria Pearlman and Friends of the Library President Lorraine Riedel recently presented the check to Rhyins for the renovation project.

Rhyins said the library received public input over the past year and worked with a designer to upgrade its facilities. The entire area will be dubbed The Monroe Lions Club Co-op and Coffee Lounge in recognition of the generous gift, according to Rhyins.

The Makerspace is designed to be a town hub for creative thinkers to meet and collaborate on innovative projects. Among the equipment the space will house is a 3-D printer, a Glowforge laser cutter and engraver, an embroidery machine, a Cricut digital cutting machine, a high resolution scanner for photos and slides, and a digital converter for VHS and DVD technology.

Classes will be offered to teach library visitors how to use the equipment with a focus on useful projects and cooperative enterprises. Once patrons have been certified to use a piece of equipment, they can schedule time in the
Makerspace to pursue individual and group projects on their own time, Rhyins said.

A coffee lounge

Patrons can chat with their friends over coffee in a club chair next to the window or at the counter with a laptop at the new coffee lounge, which will be next to the Makerspace.

Aside from coffee, Rhyins said the lounge will offer tea, hot chocolate, cold drinks and a pre-wrapped locally made muffin or pastry.

A relocated teen space will be updated with teen-friendly furniture, as
well as a television with video games.

The project also includes a co-op area with tables for drop-in activities that lend themselves to collective creativity for all ages, such as jigsaw puzzles, Lego kits, and sticker-by number posters.

“The goal of the project is to encourage creative community interaction, provide hands-on learning opportunities, and offer spaces for people to work independently in an environment that promotes a sense of inclusion,” Rhyins said. “On one side of the library, we will have a humming, active social space
while the other side of the building will be dedicated to quieter pursuits.

Rhyins said the hope is to have all of spaces updated and available to the public by the end of the year.

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