Public Library Board liked what it heard Thursday about a proposal to turn
the overflow parking lot at Hageman Library in Porter into an accessible
community garden with emphasis on children’s activities.
manager Suzanne Chomel and Tim Miller, who maintains WPL landscaping, laid
out plans for a shallow, recirculating water feature to teach about
aquatics; a pavillion shelter; a planted hoop-trellis walkway; raised flower
beds; fruit trees and a vegetable garden.
“I love it,”
said WPL board member Nick Tilden, a Porter resident. Board members also
expressed enthusiasm and agreed to conduct the Sept. 21 meeting at Hageman
to view the plans in more detail.
Chomel are working with Porter Public Works superintendent Brenda
Brueckheimer on the project. The new garden area, north of the existing
Hageman parking lot, first has to have the previous paving base removed from
when the site was Hageman School years ago.
Phil Baugher indicated there’s money in both the 2011 and 2012 budgets for
developing the garden, but Miller said as yet there’s no firm cost estimate.
Baugher said the greatest expense would be removing the asphalt/gravel and
bringing in topsoil.
Terry Hiestand suggested a contractor looking for clean fill or road base
may want to trade for the topsoil. Extension of water and electric service
as well as concrete work also will be needed.
Chomel said so
far several businesses and groups have shown interest in helping on the
project; she expressed hope some work could begin this fall with completion
Miller said he
didn’t want to break ground until he had commitments that someone else would
maintain the gardens, but he was willing to start a children’s garden club
to teach about horticulture. Chomel said previous such projects with Miller
proved popular with the children.
library patrons and community residents may want to help keep the gardens in
like a creative use for a vacant lot. It sounds very promising,” said board
president Claire Jolie. “There’s a whole realm of things you could do with
this situation --- cooking, canning.”
Baugher said a
concern had been raised whether the garden would impede a future expansion
of Hageman Library itself. Plans are to maintain an adjacent area for
overflow parking and expansion, he assured.
business, Baugher reported that although the 886 children participating in
the recently completed WPL summer reading program was 22 short of 2010’s
total, he felt the quality of this year’s program was outstanding and well
received. The Dragon Days and Summer Knights theme included a Medieval
The schools with
the greatest number of participants, after 133 pre-school readers, were
Bailly 99, Yost 79, Discovery Charter 78, Westchester Intermediate 75,
Brummit 72, St. Patrick 68, Liberty 59, Jackson 57, Other 49, Chesterton
Montessori 45, Homeschool 25, Liberty Intermediate 22, Fairhaven 13,
Duneland Montessori and Chesterton Middle School both 6.
announced WPL has acquired 49 additional South Shore and South Shore-style
posters for display at Thomas Library and the Library Service Center, both
in Chesterton. The collection now represents all the available posters in
In keeping with
a National Day of Service to commemorate Sept. 11, WPL is encouraging
volunteers to visit the libraries Sept. 11 and 12 to learn how to become
“shelf elves” who replace returned books to their proper place.
Thomas was down 6 percent in July but up 19 percent at Hageman with 223,553
items circulated year-to-date.
WPL remains in
sound financial condition with $6.87 million in all accounts and
investments. The Library Board voted 5-0 with Rick Hokanson and Drew Rhed
absent to approve a 2012 plan of service and accompanying $3,111,359 budget
proposal that goes before the Porter County Council Sept. 19 for a
non-binding recommendation. WPL will conduct a public hearing on its budget
The plan of
service predicts strong library use during tough economic times as
cash-strapped families turn to WPL for information, education and
entertainment. WPL plans to maintain current operating hours, staffing
levels, material acquisitions and programming services in 2012 but be ready
to make reductions if necessary, said Baugher.
In addition to
the Hageman garden, another special project being considered for next year
is remodeling the dated lower-level restrooms at Thomas to make them more
accessible. Renovation of the Service Center main restrooms is in progress.
matter, the Library Board briefly discussed whether to move its summer
family films series, which is preceded by public concerts, out of downtown
Thomas Park to another location because of the frequent train noise. Baugher
said at one time Thomas was known as Railroad Park and hosted minstrel
shows; the board agreed to keep the current location.
an email from a parent surprised her 13 year-old could rent R-rated movies
from WPL, the board reviewed its lending policy but made no changes.
members the children/young adult user-agreement card parents are required to
sign that stipulates “I am also aware the library does not restrict access
to collections to children except for access to internet materials, and I am
responsible for my child’s selection of materials.”
said the director, in several formats a letter to parents about children’s
access to library materials is available to parents including that they may
notify WPL if they wish their child’s access to certain materials be
blocked. Giving the letter directly to parents at the time the user cards
are signed was discussed.
Michele Corazzo asked if WPL has seen a drop in its DVD circulation with the
popularity of Netflix. Baugher said some but it’s still a high-traffic
department. He noted some libraries are exploring offering movie downloads
like they do online access to e-books.