Chesterton Tribune



Township libraries moving forward with building upgrades

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The Westchester Public Library Board approved Library Director Lisa Stamm’s reqeust to seek an additional appropriation for Library improvements at its meeting last night.

Stamm told the Board last month that she was looking into funding some Library upgrades from WPL’s Library Improvement Reserve Fund (LIRF). Her full list of needed improvements: new sidewalks around the Thomas Branch, a new patio at the Baugher Center, new staff entry doors at the Thomas Branch, new materials security gates at both branches, and new shelving for audio-visual and paperback materials at both branches.

Stamm suggested starting work on the Thomas Branch by replacing the glass staff entry doors at Thomas and the Baugher Center patio.

Stamm reported that the Baugher Center Patio is the most pressing project, where sinking concrete and excessive cracking has been worsening with weather and causing trip hazards since before she was hired. At that time, Interim Director Phil Baugher obtained an estimate stating the work would cost $24,000 to $30,000 and take five to seven business days.

The Board authorized Stamm to go before the Westchester Township Board to make her case for funding the new patio and doors from LIRF. If that’s approved, security gates are next on her list.

In other business, the Board reorganized, reinstating Rondi Wightman as President for 2019. Nick Tilden was elected Vice-president, Michelle Corazzo was elected Secretary, and Drew Rhed was reinstated Treasurer.

Stamm announced that member Abbe Trent was reappointed to the Board by her appointing authority, the Westchester Township Board, for a four-year term. Tilden, a Duneland School Board appointee, is also up for reappointment in 2019. The next member up for reappointment will be Corazzo, another School Board appointee, next year.

New Hours

Stamm made a reminder that WPL’s new hours start May 1. Starting that day, the Thomas Branch will close at 6 p.m. on Fridays and the Hageman Branch will be open until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours at the Westchester Township History Museum and Friday night previews for Friends of the Library book sales will not be affected.

Stamm said the change gives Hageman patrons who work nine-to-five type schedules more time to use the Library after work.

Librarian’s Report

Stamm reported Township residents are participating in the Library support campaign for National Library Week after WPL announced across its social media and in its newsletter that free “We Love Our Library” yard signs and license plate holders were available at both branches. Both items are available first-come, first-served until they’re gone.

The Thomas Branch AV department will be getting some new fish, after Stamm had the old aquarium replaced with a new, smaller model and found a new home for the lone suckerfish that was living in the old tank. Stamm funded the new tank from unrestricted gift funds for $81.25.

Stamm also reported the overflow parking lot opposite the Baugher Center will be getting new LED light fixtures. The current fixtures are original to the lot and have outdated high-intensity discharge bulbs with individual transformers, making them hard to repair and replace. Ellis Electric is to do the work for $3,125 with an expected completion date at the end of April.

At Board member Kathy Cochran’s urging, Stamm said she will double-check the design of the new light fixtures to make sure they’re angled downward and won’t expose nearby houses to excessive brightness.

In March the libraries had 29,540 visitors and presented 89 programs attended by a total of 1,367 people. 313 people used meeting rooms.


Posted 4.12.2919




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