The Board of Trustees of the Millburn Free Public Library is excited to announce the renovation of the Millburn Library beginning in late summer 2021. The renovation will encompass most of the building's interior and result in a new, larger Children’s Room, a relocated Teen Space, new service desks, new carpeting and lighting, and other improvements that will serve the community for years to come.
Renovation ideas have been in development for a number of years, in line with the library’s strategic plan, but have been held off pending the release of state grant money for library construction and renovation projects. While the MFPL did not receive state support for this project, the plans were modified to meet the resources on hand, including $150,000 in capital support from the Township of Millburn and $30,000 from the Friends of the Millburn Library. Areas not renovated in this round will be addressed in the future as funding allows.
The project will begin by making the busiest area of the Library, the Children’s Room, larger by consolidating the adjacent staff workroom and relocating its server room and an office. The Children’s Room will grow by about 20% without expanding the footprint of the building.
The layout of the new Children’s Room will be changed so that staff is more visible and have better sight lines over the entire space. New shelving will accommodate growing collections and additional seating will help ensure visitors have a place to relax and read when they drop in. Some shelving will be modular which will build in a level of flexibility that does not currently exist. This will be especially important when the library returns to on-site programming in the future, including popular classes like Storytime and hands-on crafts. New eye-catching décor will highlight locations and languages from across the globe.
Another important aspect of the project will be the relocation of the Teen Space. The Library is a popular spot for teens to visit after school and the need for a space that allows collaboration and socialization is key. The plan is to relocate the Teen Space to an area under the mezzanine in a new enclosed room, resulting in better sound control and a better library experience for all users. Teens will continue to enjoy a space dedicated to their needs while those who are seeking a place for quiet study can focus and relax. Comfortable seating will be added to the current teen area, allowing for beautiful views of South Mountain Reservation.
The final features of the project include new service desks for circulation and information as well as new carpeting, new lighting and some additional changes to staff spaces.
The project will result in a short-term closure of the building while interior walls come down, new walls are built and the computer hub is relocated. The closure is projected to last for approximately ten weeks. When the majority of the building is ready, a partial reopening will take place as the finishing touches are put in place in the Children’s Room. A grand re-opening will be scheduled for when the project is complete.
While the building is closed, library service will remain available in a few ways. First, the MFPL will virtualize as it did during the height of the pandemic in 2020. E-books, streaming services, virtual reference assistance and online programs will be our primary service methods. But unlike last year, when all libraries were closed by executive order, this time our neighboring libraries will be open for service. Millburn cardholders will be able to receive walk-in library service from all BCCLS libraries, including nearby Livingston and Maplewood. Millburn cardholders will also be able to request books through the online catalog and arrange to have them sent for pickup to any BCCLS library. Additionally, the Library also has a special reciprocal agreement with Summit allowing in-person service there.
The option we are most excited about, however, is the opening of a temporary pop-up library in a storefront in town. Details about this will be announced once everything is finalized, but we expect to have a mini library in place to address most express services. Throughout the duration of the project, Library staff will be available during our scheduled service hours in-person at our pop-up site as well as via email, phone, text and Zoom.
For more information about the Millburn Library please visit the library website www.millburnlibrary.org. Details about the renovation can be found under “About” and then by clicking “Renovation 2021.”