Renovations give Manistee library a new look

MANISTEE — Library patterns were met with new carpets, shelves and furniture recently when the main branch of the Manistee County Library reopened its doors to the public.

“We have received a lot of wonderful comments about the new look,” said Julie Cirone, the library’s assistant director, in an email to the News Advocate.

In particular, Cirone said the new shelving was a major improvement.

“People are really enjoying having lower shelving — it makes books easier to reach and it lets in a lot more natural light from our beautiful picture windows,” her email continued.

Updates to the library’s main level were made between Feb. 21 and 27, with Library Design Associates contracted to coordinate parts of the effort, according to board of trustees meeting minutes from November.

The project had been delayed in 2021 due to a number of factors, also according to meeting minutes from last year.

An update from October stated that it had taken an unexpectedly long time to obtain the shelving and furniture.

Improvements at the library have also been slowed down due to specific requirements that come from its status as a historic building.

“There are barriers with contractors: Building commodities are hard to come by and contractors are turning down work because the market is flooded with projects,” reads part of the minutes from the October board of trustees meeting.

The library building, which is recognized by the state as a historic site, is one of six Manistee County library locations. Branch locations in Arcadia, Bear Lake, Kaleva, Onekama and Wellston remained open with expanded hours while work was being done on the main branch in Manistee.

The library system’s materials collection has over 99,000 items that goes beyond just books, and includes things like movies, music, video games, magazines and audio books.

Cirone said executive director Debra Greenacre has “made it her mission to provide Manistee County with the best possible library service.”

Part of that, according to Cirone, is “making sure that our buildings are comfortable and inviting for all.”

“From the tech room, to the quiet reading room, the teen area and now the entire main level, patrons can enjoy an inviting area to learn, work and hang out.”

The main branch is located at 95 Maple St. in Manistee.

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