When the Brookfield Public Library underwent a complete interior remodeling in 1998-99, its periodical collection was consigned to something of a state of limbo. Although it was still kept up-to-date and within reach of patrons, it wasn’t exactly easy to find, tucked in plastic sleeves on stacks located behind the Adult Services computer stations.

As a result, many library patrons didn’t know that the library had a collection of roughly 100 periodicals, or magazines, that they could not only peruse inside the library but also check out.

“You can’t browse them if you don’t know they’re there,’ said library Director Kimberly Litland.

Two weeks ago, however, that changed when the library installed a new periodicals rack to hold all of the magazines?”from Atlantic Monthly to Woman’s Day. And now the magazines are in a visible and convenient location, just past the circulation desk and next to the reading tables in Adult Services.

The rack, which cost the library some $4,900 was underwritten in good part by the Friends of the Library, which donated $2,400.

“People said, ‘Wow, we didn’t know you had magazines,” said Litland, who added that patrons can check out any periodical, except for the current issue, for seven days.

The periodical shelving is just one in a series of interior improvements to the library, 3609 Grand Blvd., begun late last year. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the library closed for two days and work crews replaced all 24 of the clerestory windows that ring the structure at its roofline, a $10,500 expense prompted by ongoing leaks experienced in the last year.

“Recaulking the windows would have been a temporary thing at best,” Litland said.

In an effort to solve another of the library’s long-standing interior problems, Litland closed the library from 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16 to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. This time, crews from Hallett Library Movers physically moved stacks of books in the Youth Services department so that all of the carpeting could be pulled up and re-glued to the floor.

Previously, the library’s carpeting was puckering in many areas on the east side of the library, posing a tripping hazard. The carpet in the Youth Services area is now completely smooth, although some staff areas still experience the problem, which will be addressed in the future, said Litland.

Litland last Friday also had a new phone system installed at the library. A $5,000 expense, Litland said that the old phone system did not include a voice mail feature on any phone except the director’s.

Litland said that the money to pay for the improvements is coming from additional revenues the library began receiving last fall as a result of the successful tax referendum in the spring of 2005.

That money will also allow the library to replace four of the six heating/air-conditioning units on the library’s roof.

“That’s going to be the biggest project for the coming fiscal year,” Litland said. “The units last between 15 to 20 years, and this year those units are 20 years old.”

During the campaign for the library’s property tax referendum last year, officials emphasized that money would be used for interior improvements related to space allocation and furniture. Litland said that those are still in the preliminary planning stages.

Litland has met with one architectural firm and has had preliminary discussions about the library’s options for space reallocation, and that the board has done “brainstorming” for future changes inside the library.

“The board is looking at the things that have to get done first, like the carpeting, windows and HVAC system,” Litland said.