The Clinton-Macomb Public Library turns 30 this year with less fanfare than focus, as employees seek to draw patrons back into buildings with items and activities beyond books.
“We are not hosting specific events surrounding the anniversary. However, we are taking this time to re-engage the community and remind everyone of all the incredible things that the library has to offer,” Clinton-Macomb Public Library (CMPL) Head of Communications and Strategy Jamie Morris said. “Over the last two years people may have forgotten that the library is more than just books. We’d like to take this time to remind the community that we offer programs for all ages, from babies to seniors.”
Morris said that beyond its book collection, the library has collections of DVDs, video games, board games, CDs, numerous digital items such as audiobooks and music, and a Things to Go collection that includes items from telescopes to cake pans.
“In celebrating 30 years, we’re encouraging people to come visit us again if it has been a while,” Morris said. “We have three locations and school and senior outreach librarians who are in the community visiting schools and senior living homes. This year, we are also taking time to share some throwback pictures of past events on our social media channels.”
Morris said the library will share events such as the dedication of meeting rooms at the Main Library, the opening of the renovated South Branch building a little over eight years ago, and programs the library has offered over 30 years. Patrons are also encouraged to share memories of the library on social media.
The library is also seeking community participation from local artists with the design a library card competition to mark the anniversary. Entries are due Aug. 20.
“We are hoping to find four new card designs,” Morris said. “We had great success in 2010 when we held the contest. We know that we have a very creative, talented community, and we’re hoping to have some great entries this year as well. We are looking for generic card designs, suitable for all ages, but we are also looking for a design specifically targeted to children ages 0-5 as well.”
Morris said individuals can submit no more than three different entries. Designs must be original and cannot contain copyrighted characters. The entries must include the library’s full name. Any medium is accepted, but photography and digital art is encouraged. Designs should be dark enough to be reproduced easily. Designs must also conform to the specific sizes of the library card and a key fob library card. Entries can be submitted at cmpl.org/design-a-card/, and full rules are listed here also. Winning artists will be asked to provide a digital original of the artwork if it is available.
“Library staff will narrow down the entries and the community will vote later this fall,” Morris said, adding that community voting will take place online.
The new cards are scheduled to be available to the public in early 2023.
Card redesigns are not the only update at the CMPL. The library’s board recently gained new faces with Lynda Locke being appointed by Clinton Township in 2021, Ruth Cummins appointed by Clinton Township in 2022 and Lori Scharich appointed by Macomb Township in 2022.
The CMPL began as the Clinton-Chippewa Valley District Library in 1992, with partners Clinton Township and the Chippewa Valley Schools district. CMPL Director Larry Neal said the founding grew out of concerns voiced by Bob and Cheryl Cannon not long after the Macomb County Library closed out its children’s collection in the 1990s.
“Bob was on the Clinton Township board and Cheryl was with Chippewa Valley Schools. So they kind of came up with the idea that we really needed to have a local library,” Neal said.
The CMPL’s first location was at Erie Elementary School in Clinton Township. By 1997 it had moved to Seneca Middle School in Macomb Township, but school district border boundaries provided a concern, Neal said. He also said that as Macomb Township increased its involvement and stepped up to become a partner, the school district withdrew.
“So our current boundary is all of Macomb Township and 93 percent of Clinton Township,” Neal said.
After Seneca the library moved to its own space, a leased building at 19 Mile Road and Garfield Road, Neal confirmed. He said that in 1998 the library put its first mileage out to the community for the construction and operation of a library. In 1999, Christine Lind Hage became the library director to take on the challenge of working through library construction and starting a library system from the ground up. Neal, who had worked with Hage for 17 years, made the move with her and became an assistant library director.
Neal said that the CMPL South Branch opened in 2000 in a leased building, the North Branch in a leased building in 2001 and the Main Branch opened in 2003 in a newly-built building. In 2014 the South Branch moved to a new building that the library renovated and owned. A new North Branch building was built, which opened in 2021. Today the Main Library is located at 40900 Romeo Plank Road in Clinton Township, the North Branch at 54100 Broughton Road in Macomb Township, and the South Branch at 35679 South Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township.