Library Commission approves kiosk at south Warren park

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published October 5, 2021

 Novi resident and library cardholder Marcia Davis stands in front of the Lakeshore Lending Library, Michigan’s first self-service library kiosk, installed at Lakeshore Park in Novi in May. The Warren Library Commission has voted to place a kiosk near Winters Park in south Warren.

Novi resident and library cardholder Marcia Davis stands in front of the Lakeshore Lending Library, Michigan’s first self-service library kiosk, installed at Lakeshore Park in Novi in May. The Warren Library Commission has voted to place a kiosk near Winters Park in south Warren.

File photo provided by Marcia Davis

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WARREN — Residents in the southeastern corner of Warren could soon have 24-hour access to books, DVDs and other materials available through the Warren Public Library.

At the Sept. 16 meeting of the Warren Library Commission, commissioners voted unanimously to add a self-service library kiosk north of Toepfer Road, between Schoenherr and Hoover roads, at either the city’s Winters Park or the adjacent McKinley Elementary School, part of the Van Dyke Public Schools district.  

The vote came after recent discussions among members of the commission, the Warren City Council and members of the David Area Association neighborhood group.

Residents Vera Speagle, Elaine Edwards and other association members expressed concern over the lack of city amenities for residents in the neighborhood. While a brick-and-mortar home for books, materials and library programs is what they’d really like to see, they petitioned the commission to add something, at least in the interim, to serve the neighborhood’s children, families and seniors.

The nearest library is the Maybelle Burnette Branch on Van Dyke Avenue, north of Nine Mile Road. The city’s Edgar A. Guest Branch Library, on Stephens Road east of Groesbeck Highway, was permanently shuttered in 2004.

“Unfortunately, they never replaced it with anything,” said Annette Majka, a member of the Warren Library Commission, a 23-year resident of the city and a retired Berkley librarian. “These people obviously need something.”

Majka said she heard about a library kiosk in the city of Novi from a friend who still works at the Berkley Public Library.

“I had brought it up a couple months ago at a library commission meeting,” Majka said. “It sounds like it’s a good alternative to, obviously, a brick-and-mortar branch, which would be optimal.”

Warren City Treasurer Lorie Barnwell, who serves as a trustee on the Library Commission, said she introduced the idea of bringing a mobile library to the neighborhood in the interim and later reached out to learn more about the kiosk in Novi after Majka mentioned it at a meeting.

The Library Commission voted to request an appropriation of funds. Once finalized by the administration, that request will go before the City Council for consideration.

Barnwell said the cost was expected to be about $500,000 for the whole project.

“The city of Warren Library Commission is also working on a couple grants to get possibly a book mobile, which will travel all over the city,” Barnwell said. “That will have laptops on it, books, they’ll do story hour.”

She said the idea is to bring amenities to residents in underserved neighborhoods, and particularly those residents who can’t travel to branches where library services are offered.

“If the residents are having a hard time going to the library and getting city services, then we will go to the residents,” Barnwell said.

The self-service library kiosk at Lakeshore Park in Novi opened in May. It holds up to 235 browsable books, DVDs and Blue-ray titles, available to those who hold a valid library card.

Barnwell said the kiosk would also offer wi-fi access and would feature its own security system to deter vandals.

They hope to have the kiosk in place sometime early next year.

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