From Carol Grant, Secretary, WDM Library Board of Trustees:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the West Des Moines library to reopen.  Two reasons…first, it’s been a year since Covid squelched my ability to leisurely browse the stacks. Secondly, I can’t wait to see (and experience) the final results of the renovations that have taken place over the past 20 months.

Recently, however, I did get a sneak preview. As a member of the Board of Trustees, I was offered the opportunity to tour the not quite finished renovated spaces a short time ago.  Now, I am even more excited!  

Here is a glimpse of what you can expect……From the moment you enter the lobby, the new carpet and painted walls give the entire space a fresh new look.  Right there, it makes you feel good.  The Living Room area off to the left from the lobby will resume its prior purpose for snacking and lounging. Vending machines will be located there, as food will not be allowed elsewhere in the library.

Walking to the back, past the front desk, note the new Health Room on the right, where complete privacy is assured for anyone needing it. Of course, that includes nursing mothers. Continuing further back, there are new comfy chairs by the two-story windows where I like to sit and read.  The Book Sale shelves are located there now.  However, the magazine and newspapers are no longer in that location. More on that later.

Continuing left from there, you will find the Children’s Storyroom in its same location. The munchkin door within the door is still there.  The Storyroom will still be undergoing a refresh when we reopen – more changes to come!   The play area outside the Story Room will remain mostly empty until we get an all clear on Covid. But…wait for it…there will be new interactive play options when it is again safe to use them!  Children’s books will return to their prior location outside the Story Room. Can it get any better than that?? 

rocker chair
New rocker chairs

Circling the building counterclockwise, check out the cool new chairs and booth type seating arrangements.  Try out the comfy chair that has a profile reminiscent of Pac Man. Does anybody play that game anymore?  

Be sure to look up as you head toward the front of the building.  The new lighting is designed for plenty of illumination, but no glare.  Perfect!  Looks good too.

teen center
new library teen center

Back near the front of the building is what I consider the most exciting aspect of the renovation:  the new Teen Center.  Three teen study rooms with glass windows and doors line the side wall and have great views of the pond.  In the center there will be some moveable tables that can be arranged for small or large group activities.  The Young Adult books are now all in the adjacent stacks.  There will be a movable wall separating the Teen Center from the Library Living Room, which can be opened when teen activities require extra space.

Upstairs you will find the same fresh new look.  Study rooms have been increased from six to eight.  One big change is that magazines and newspapers now reside upstairs, making the second level, essentially, the adult area.   Computers are in the same location as before.  The DVD browsing area is now next to the computers. 

It’s been a long year for everyone.  Library staff have dealt with both Covid and the upheaval of renovation with skill, dedication, and good humor.  While there are downsides to having both happen at the same time, now that we can see the end of both in sight, I think that might have been fortunate timing.   On Thursday, April 22nd, the library is expected to reopen without limitations on the number of patrons in the building at one time.   I’ll be there!  I hope you will too!