Bids are now being sought for a renovation of the Hageman Library restrooms
The planned changes will make the restrooms there handicapped accessible.
The Westchester Public Library Board, which Thursday reviewed the project
drawings and specifications done by architect Scott Virtue, hopes to award
the winning bid May 9.
WPL director Phil Baugher also displayed Virtue’s concept for interior
renovation of the exhibit area at the WPL-operated Westchester Township
History Museum, located in the Brown Mansion. The exhibit area is a much
later addition to the historic home.
WPL leases the Brown Mansion from the Duneland School Corporation, but
Baugher said the library will pay for the remodeling pending Duneland’s
approval of the final plans for both permanent and temporary exhibits;
renovations include creating a more open concept, new wallcoverings, carpets
If funding allows this year, WPL may remodel the lower-level restrooms at
the Library Service Center. The main-floor LSC restrooms were the first to
be updated last year followed by the original restrooms at Thomas Library in
Both Thomas and Hageman opened in 1975; the LSC, a former bank operations
center, was purchased in 1995.
Baugher reported the theme of this summer’s popular youth reading program
will be trains. The Thomas Children’s Department is being transformed into a
train station, and the wrap-up party will be in downtown Thomas Centennial
Park, once known as Rail Road Park where performers and artists entertained
on flat-bed railroad cars parked on a siding.
The cost to upgrade the Thomas elevator climbed again to a final $25,188
after it was determined no emergency light was in place. The project began
when a new system-wide WPL fire alarm system was installed and the elevator
interface required the addition of an ADA-complaint phone and other
Welcomed to the Library Board were new members Kathy Cochran appointed by
the Duneland School Board, and Mike Livovich by the Porter County Council.
The pair will be given an orientation by Baugher and supplied with
background information related to the ongoing development of a WPL
The board again engaged in a lengthy discussion about the options with WPL
attorney Terry Hiestand. It was agreed a representative of Horizon Bank will
attend the May 9 meeting to explain the services it could provide. A
consultant from Umbaugh & Associates previously addressed the board.
WPL has $7.3 million in all banks with $6.6 million currently invested with
Horizon. Money is being saved for future expansion/remodeling of library
Space is becoming a problem in the Audio/Visual Department, said Baugher. AV
is processing over 400 new books on CD. Other collections are being weeded,
and taller shelving units might be a temporary fix. The director noted that
as more content is delivered electronically, the space crunch may somewhat
Also during Thursday’s meeting:
* Baugher said circulation was up at Thomas and Hageman last month, although
visitor count at the museum was down. Webpage hits and wireless internet
users at WPL facilities showed strong gains.
* Next week WPL’s integrated library system that handles circulation,
acquisitions and cataloging functions among others will be upgraded.
* Baugher announced for 2012, WPL ranked third out of 54 Hoosier libraries
having comparable budgets using a Library Journal index based on 2010 data.
WPL ranked 426 out of 7,570 total U.S. public libraries, and 14th out of all
238 Indiana libraries.
* Twelve tutors have volunteered for the new WPL program, and 35 students
signed up for assistance; more tutors are needed.
* Twenty-three volunteers are ready to distribute free books supplied by
publishers April 23 in support of World Book Night.
* The Library Board reviewed and reaffirmed its patron conduct policy,
problem patron manual and policy on how to respond to emergencies. April 17
representatives of both the Chesterton and Porter police departments will
conduct training for WPL employees on library safety and security.