Whimsical “Alice in Wonderland” décor, donated by  the LaSorda family, adds color to the youth room at the Rochester Hills Public Library.

Whimsical “Alice in Wonderland” décor, donated by the LaSorda family, adds color to the youth room at the Rochester Hills Public Library.

Photo provided by the Rochester Hills Public Library


Donation transforms library’s youth room

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 7, 2019

ROCHESTER HILLS — A recent donation to the Rochester Hills Public Library has brought the magical world of books to life in the youth room.

Former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda and his wife, Doreen, of Rochester residents, have transformed the youth room with new “Alice in Wonderland” furniture — including an elaborate 11-foot-tall tree featuring rosebuds crafted from the book’s pages, as well as upside-down LED teacups for light — and an updated infant and toddler explore area.

The couple decided to donate the “Alice in Wonderland” décor to the library after their youngest daughter, Christine, closed her bakery in Chicago, which was themed after the popular children’s book.

“She wanted it to go to a good home … where it could be appreciated and enjoyed,” Doreen said.

Library Director Christine Lind Hage said the redesign — which includes items valued at approximately $50,000 — provides a comfortable place for elementary-aged children to read and study, advancing the library’s mission to serve as a community town square.

“It’s really lovely and a fabulous addition to the library,” she said. “That corner is being used a lot more because of the new furniture.”

Hage said Youth Services Librarian Kim Gardner is in the process of creating a mural to complete the new “Alice in Wonderland” inspired space, adding that a dedication reception will be held this spring.

The LaSorda family also provided funds to create a new infant and toddler explore area, which has hands-on learning activities to promote the five practices of early literacy: reading, writing, talking, singing and playing. The learning-scape, built by Rewold and Sons Inc., has a crawl-through tunnel, spinning gears, chimes, mirrors, peek-a-boo windows, different textured surfaces, a climbing area and an infant-sized bookshelf.

“The learning-scape will help very young children start building skills that will help them get ready to read,” said Hage. “It’s just been insanely popular.”

The Rochester Hills Public Library is located at 500 Olde Towne Road in Rochester. For more information, visit www.rhpl.org or call (248) 656-2900.