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Northville Public Library celebrates 20th anniversary in current location

Julie Herrin, Library Director
Julie Herrin, library director, says the future of the library will be the creation of knowledge rather than the curation of knowledge.
The Northville Public Library has turned the page on being at its current location for 20 years, after holding a public reception in mid October. What will the next chapter bring?

Based on a survey and consultant-led planning study, there will be more places to sit, study and collaborate in the 25,000 ft. building. There will be more resources available for download. The WiFi at the library makes it a popular place to study or surf the web, and that will continue.

“It’s the creation of knowledge rather than the curation of knowledge that is the future of libraries,” said Julie Herrin, library director since the building opened in 1996. “That means that patrons can take information from the library and apply it to a project or collaborative effort to build or create something that didn’t exist before.”

The library is elegantly situated at 212 W. Cady St., behind the Community Center and City Hall, and across from the Art House. Twenty years ago, the site was green space. Some of that green space still remains, with towering trees. The library has become a downtown institution, with easy access for patrons and visitors.

Mother reading to her children.
That includes seniors who attend classes at the Community Center, then stop at the library to check out books and music or learn how to use the computer. Many people shop or dine downtown before or after visiting the library. It’s a favorite for families with young children who feast their senses on books and toys. For teens and college students, it’s their place for doing research and homework, often with study buddies. Business owners and professionals who need facts and statistics before making big decisions go to the library – in person or online – to glean information from magazines, databases and journals.

It’s a one-stop resource for books, music and digital resources that stir imaginations and provide information. Librarians are trained not only in traditional programs but also in the use of technology, so they can teach others. The library offers one-on-one computer tutoring and shows people how to use electronic notebooks and smart phones too. There are classes on digital programs, including how to use facebook and Skype.

“We like to think we are a place for continuing education for all people,” said Herrin, “We offer self-directed learning, provide computers for people looking for a job, and have the services and technology for digital learning.”

The library serves both the city of Northville and township, made official with a resolution passed by voters in 1994. The subsequent increase in funding went toward constructing a new building. In the previous years, the library was housed in six different locations, the first being the church that now resides at Mill Race Village and the last being the space at City Hall that the police department occupies. A display in the library lobby portrays the past, the present and the future of the library.

Girl reading book
The library was a crown jewel for the city and township when it opened on Oct. 6, 1996 at its current location. “It came out beautiful and it’s still beautiful,” said Herrin. “We had cassettes then, now we have e-books and streaming video.”

While circulation of books and other items has dropped off – now at 500,000 annually, the downloading of materials, such as video games, books and magazines, has soared.

Also gaining in popularity are programs hosted by the library – about 300 programs annually, from story times for tots to lectures on architecture and history lessons from two World Wars.

A Northville library card gives the owner access to libraries at 54 cities in southeast Michigan and in Livingston County - a network that offers reciprocal borrowing and returning of books and other items. The library also has partnerships with other organizations that benefit patrons, such as use of the 3-D printer at the Village Workshop and half-off the programs it offers.



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