Thursday, August 7, 2014

272. Charlevoix, Michigan

Where to begin with this amazing library? The building's beginning was in 1927, when it was built as an elementary school and gymnasium. It served in this role until changing demographics, and a new middle school, resulted in its abandonment as a school. Fortuitously, at about the same time the town needed a larger library, and in September 2006, the building opened in its new role.

A little booklet about library history describes great creativity. A mural was painted that depicts life in Charlevoix during the 20s. The basketball gymnasium with its vaulted roof became the home of the Pew-Ives Adult Collection. The sunny kindergarten room with its handsome tiled fireplace became a sitting room for reading and browsing periodicals. (Really? A fireplace in a kindergarten room? Yes, and it once had a fishpond, too. How times have changed!) The classroom corridor has been opened up to create an inspiring children's area. A starry oculus graces the Youth Activity Center. The Children's Corner includes four large fiberglass trees; three of these have hollow reading nooks, which the fourth has been adapted as a computer station. Somehow I missed seeing the Puppet Theater, which surprised me when I read about it, as I usually spot such things. But I did arrive late, and had only about 20 minutes to try and absorb this marvelous space.

So, out of the booklet and into my notebook. There is a Teen Lounge just inside the door, perhaps where the school office or library used to be. Along the corridor of the Children's Corner are many touches that I now realize reflect the building's origins, including sets of seats from the gymnasium and a school clock (original?) with the paper tape that ensured that bells rang on time. I like the quotation from Abraham Lincoln that I saw on the wall: "A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. The fate of humanity is in his hands." So true, and too often forgotten.

The Program Room has a spiral pattern of tiles on the floor and a real kitchen, ready for all sorts of programs. Window seats have cushions tucked underneath.  There is a computer lab with 10 separate tables with wheels, each with a computer, a very flexible setup.

I learned from staff that the "I geek ..." posters throughout the library are, as I suspected, photos of local residents with symbols of their interests. I saw "I geek..." posters at other Michigan libraries last summer, but I'm not sure those were local.

That's as much as I could grasp in the short time I had. I took a few pictures of the grounds, which are also full of interesting details, see below. I strongly suggest that you go to and the Facebook site and look around! And if you are ever near Charlevoix, stop by the library, for sure. Preferably, more than 20 minutes before closing!

I didn't see this until after I left the library;
my guess is that an earlier library in Charlevoix
must have been a Carnegie.

A neighborhood man told me that the bookworm is a very new addition to the grounds.


  1. I'm sorry i missed your quick visit as i would have loved to give you a tour of our library. Yes, the teen room was the original school office and the clock is original to the school. Enjoy the rest of your adventures. Val Meyerson.

  2. I like the "I geek" idea and especially the bookworm. We should ask for one in our new library design.


Comments are welcomed, and I will generally respond to them. Please be tasteful; comments that are in poor taste will be deleted.
Sorry about the "verification" step; I added it after a rash of spammish comments.