Library turns the page
Florissant Valley Branch Library gets a new look thanks to the Your Library Renewed campaign
By Sara Hardin
As part of the Your Library Renewed campaign, the Florissant Valley Branch Library, located at 195 New Florissant Rd, S, in Florissant, closed its doors in 2016 to have its interior completely revamped. The library, which reopened its doors on Aug. 2 after almost a year’s worth of renovations, now boasts plenty of new, exciting features that make it a destination spot for community members of all ages.
Among the most exciting additions is the lower level, which has been completely overhauled as an area for children and toddlers. A board with magnetic letters, a pneumatic tube display and giant touch screens adorn the walls of the new Emerson Discovery Zone, is proving to already be a hit among young library goers. The Dana Brown Early Explorer’s Area offers plenty of opportunities to toddlers for educational playtime with interactive panels and reading nooks.
Florissant Mayor Tom Schneider, who attended the library’s grand re-opening, expressed his optimism about the drastic differences in the library from before the construction started.
“It’s the neatest library I’ve ever been in. I’m really impressed with what they’ve done,” said Schneider. “Before the lower level was an afterthought, and now it’s a huge area for the use of the community, and that’s very exciting. It’s a great space with bright colors and a stimulating area for youth to learn from. I think it’s going to be a great place for children to have their first library experience. They’ll think of the library as something fun, rather than as something you have to do or don’t want to do. The upstairs is very professional and is a great space for people to learn and enjoy information. I’m grateful that we have such a great, state-of-the-art library in our community.”
St. Louis County Library Director Kristen Sorth is particularly excited about the multiple ways in which the library’s new areas can be utilized by different parts of the community.
“For the adults, there are lots of amenities that we didn’t have before,” said Sorth. “There are three individual study rooms and a quiet room. There is a commons area that has vending and a laptop bar, which we didn’t have before. There’s tons and tons of comfortable seating throughout the branch. It has a much larger meeting room space downstairs that community groups can use. There’s a smaller meeting room upstairs as well. Florissant is our North County regional branch, so it’s our largest branch in North County. The branch is definitely going to expand the programming options that it has for the community.”
The Florissant Valley Branch Library is the 13th library in the St. Louis County Library District to be either renovated or rebuilt as part of the Your Library Renewed Campaign. The tax, which was passed in 2012, will have renewed or replaced 19 out of the district’s 20 libraries by the end of the campaign. Sorth explains that she hopes the more modernized libraries in the district will inspire a new perspective on what a trip to the library is really all about.
“I’ve been told by people that our renovated and new branches kind of turned their view of libraries upside down because they’re just so different and so much more of a community center place, and that’s really what we were trying to accomplish,” said Sorth. “I think the perception of libraries is that you come get a book and then leave, and that’s not what we want. We want people to come in and enjoy themselves, get a cup of coffee, read a book, look at their laptop or whatever they’d like.”
To learn more about your library or about the Your Library Renewed campaign, visit www.slcl.org.
CUTLINE: Photos by Sara Hardin Patrons use the recently remodeled Florissant Valley Branch Library located at 195 New Florissant Rd, S, in Florissant.