News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 6, 2012

Vigo library renovations under way

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Patrons to the Vigo County Public Library in downtown Terre Haute may notice big changes over the next month.

The library Wednesday began a renovation to replace carpet, add ceramic floor tiles and relocate walls for new self-check stations, security gates and an automated materials handler.

“This is long overdue and we hope to get rid of the shabby look,” Nancy Dowell, executive director of the library, said of the project that has been in the planning/design process for the past 18 months.

“It is not just the renovation, but automating the whole check out and check in process as well,” Dowell said.

Chance Brothers Marble & Title of Indianapolis was awarded a $147,900 contract to remove the carpet and place new tiles, and new carpet. Earl C. Rodgers & Associates of Terre Haute was awarded an $18,000 contract to remove walls from behind the current main check-in desk and replace it with a new wall that will include a self-check area, with two display monitors.

The library has canceled all meeting activities in the library’s lower level this month for the work. Some parts of the library may be closed or sectioned off a day at a time for the project, expected to be completed by mid November.

Libby Walker, administrative coordinator at the library, said the main sitting area of the library will be replaced with two self-check kiosk stations, as well as a smaller circulation counter desk that will have a person available for those who do not wish to use the self-check stations.

“I think everybody has gotten use to using those self-checks at Kroger and different places, because you want to get in and get out and not wait in a line if you don’t have to,” Walker said.

“We are trying to think of ways where we can have more interaction with patrons on the floor, to help them find materials,” Walker added.

In addition, the kiosk stations in the main area will be mobile, allowing the library to use the full center space for events such as Christmas tree programs. Walker said library staff will have mobile hand-held devices with which they can check out books during such events. The entire library will have five self-check stations, one of which will be on the lower level.

The main counter desk area be removed and will house an automated materials handler for returned items. All library materials will be tagged with a radio frequency identification and will be placed, via conveyor belt, into separated containers for reshelving when returned.

“The whole purpose of it is to hopefully eliminate some of the repetitive motions issues that staff have [on check in and check out], especially with [plastic] security cases for audio/visual materials,” Dowell said. “This system will eliminate that security case. The new security gates at both entrances will issue an alarm” as well as send an email notification to library staff identifying materials that have not been checked out.

New carpet will be placed in large square sections. While the library will have extra stock of that carpet, Dowell said because there is a ceramic border around the carpet, the squares can be rotated to different spots to help the carpet wear more evenly and last longer.

Carpet will remain unchanged in the library’s general collection area on the south end of the building and unchanged on the far north end of the building. “That is more involved as you have to rent stack movers to lay down new carpet,” Dowell added. “That is a future project.”

In addition, a new phone paging system is being installed and an enhanced digital video surveillance system to monitor the parking lot and parts of the building, Dowell said.

The library is also increasing the number computer laptop work stations, adding 14 laptop bars.

The library building was last updated with new carpet in late 2001, with the work finished in the spring of 2002. The library’s cornerstone was set in 1978, with the public library building opening in 1979.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or