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Binding with time

Northville Public Library celebrating 25 years

June 5, 2011
By RODNEY MINOR , The Leader Herald

NORTHVILLE - Michael Burnett, the director of the Northville Public Library, recalled how the library looked when he started his job 20 years ago.

"We used to have books lining every wall" he noted with a laugh.

As the library's circulation and services have grown, the building on South Third Street in the village has expanded right along with it.

Article Photos

The Northville Public Library is shown on?Wednesday.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

Burnett said the size of the facility is one of the things that has changed the most in his time as director. The library, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has been through three interior building projects.

According to the library's website - - a group of people interested in establishing a library in the village began planning a facility in 1979. The group got the building at 341 S. Third St. and processed the books it had collected.

The Northville Book Station opened to the public in 1984. In 1986, the station became a school district public library.

In 1992, it became apparent that the library's space was insufficient, the website said. Additional space was made available on the second floor and renovations to the facility were performed.

"In October 1997, a ground breaking ceremony inaugurated the development of a 2,800-square-foot addition and full renovation of the existing building and grounds," the website said.

In 2009, a project was completed that opened the second floor by turning it into a large meeting room with a kitchenette and handicap lift.

Marge Ludwig, co-president of the Friends of the Northville Library, and Judy Barnum, the other co-president, were standing in that kitchenette Wednesday waiting for a program to begin.

The volunteers said the changes to the building are the biggest difference to the library since they got involved in helping it.

However, both said the library has expanded the number of programs it offers over the years. Barnum ticked off a list of programs, such as Childrens Story Time and book discussions, the library now offers.

Burnett agreed, noting the effect technology has had on what patrons expect.

"It's all due to demand and changing technology," Burnett said.

In 1986, the library's circulation was 1,150. Last year, 2009-10, the library's circulation was 38,457.

Burnett said the circulation has grown over time as people became more aware of what the library offers. Along with that, the library has expanded its services and programs to keep up with demand.

Burnett noted the library has a Nintendo Wii video game system, and has offered courses teaching people about how to use the Internet, among others.

As part of the Mohawk Valley Library System, Burnett said, they also are exploring getting a company to provide an e-reader service.

"We will continue to go where the technology goes," he said.

Barnum, who lives in Northville but spends part of the winter in Florida, noted Internet and wi-fi services are very popular among the library's seasonal users.

Burnett noted that unlike some other local libraries, the Northville Public Library gets much busier in summer because of the seasonal residents and people who vacation there.

He noted one family has been coming to the library for 20 years because every summer they spend time at the Northampton campground.

Burnett said for some people, the library also can become a place where they go to talk to people they know, and perhaps start discussions with people they don't know.

Ludwig noted Internet and wi-fi seems to be popular with everyone, including children.

"After school on Tuesdays, when I'm here, there are always a bunch of [children] here," she said with a laugh.

As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, the library also had books laying out Wednesday filled with pictures taken at the library over the years.

Burnett said the books will probably be available to look at for the rest of the month.



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