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 The Commons at the Bloomfield Township Public Library is meant to be a flexible, multiuse space, according to library administrators.

The Commons at the Bloomfield Township Public Library is meant to be a flexible, multiuse space, according to library administrators.

Photos provided by Tera Moon, of the Bloomfield Township Public Library


BTPL officially opens ‘the Commons’ this Saturday

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published March 9, 2020

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Skye Patrick, the director of the Los Angeles County Library system, believes the role of libraries in communities is changing from a center for knowledge and media to a community gathering place.

“Libraries are not about books; they’re about people,” Patrick said in an article on the  website for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

With that in mind, many libraries around the country are gearing their format to accommodate patrons instead of materials. The Bloomfield Township Public Library is one of those facilities, and since 2018 staff members have been working on creating a new space that’s flexible and accessible for users who want to engage with others. Now the Commons, as they’ve dubbed it, has become a reality.

Library staff and board trustees started working with an interior designer two years ago to solve some space and wayfinding problems identified in the library’s 2016-2020 strategic plan: A lack of seating and small-group meeting places was noted, and the plan called for more quiet and cozy study zones for students and individual readers.

Before the Commons was created, the library’s leaking roof was replaced last fall, and the lobby floor was replaced. Assistant Library Director Tera Moon said a final cost for the entire strategic plan’s execution hasn’t been determined as of yet, but the library has been saving for the project.

Since last May, renovations have been ongoing in the library’s media section to convert it into the envisioned Commons space. Library patrons were able to vote on furniture choices — which were provided at the library for testing — and interior designer Geraldine Drake took the lead on creating what she believes is a warm and welcoming space.

“It was important to library administration and trustees to include library users and the community in the process,” said Drake in an email. “Together, we developed ways to collect feedback and use it to select the types of furniture you see today. We were very pleased with the way this feedback led to the current design.”

That current design features 73 new seats in various configurations, including booths, tables, pods and a built-in bench. Throughout the area are dozens of easy-to-access electrical outlets to keep guests’ devices powered up.

“We’ve gotten very positive feedback,” Moon said in an interview last week. “Patrons have commented that it’s beautiful and functional. The best feedback is how well it is used. Just now I saw several two-person groups, a tutor working with a student, a man reading magazines, a couple reviewing the DVDs they had just checked out, several individuals studying intently. And it’s like that all the time.”

Residents can see the completed space for themselves at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 14, for a grand opening celebration, with refreshments and brief remarks from library administrators. There is no cost to attend, and no registration necessary. For more information about the opening ceremony, visit btpl.org or call (248) 642-5800.

The Bloomfield Township Public Library is located at 1099 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Township.

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