Web Extra!

After undergoing a thorough interior face-lift over the past 10 weeks, the Brookfield Public Library, 3609 Grand Blvd., will re-open on Monday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m.

When patrons walk through the doors Monday morning, they’ll be greeted with a brighter, warmer and more comfortable atmosphere. The new circulation and reference desks now face forward, toward patrons. There’s new carpeting, furniture that’s both practical and comfortable, new study carrels with their own electrical outlets, an inviting paint job and several new self-serve features.

“The millwork for the information desk and circulation desk turned out to be beautiful,” said Library Director Kimberly Litland. “I feel the service will be improved due to the new layout.”

Patrons will be able to check out one of the library’s 18 laptop computers from a self-serve cabinet on the main floor. Those who have used the SWAN network to borrow books from other libraries can pick them up from a new shelf near the entrance without having to ask a librarian to fetch them. In addition, the library will sport a “just returned” area, where patrons who want to see the latest items brought back can do so immediately, without finding a tucked-away shelf.

“It’s a philosophy in use by most libraries,” said Litland. “People like to help themselves to whatever they’re interested in. It helps us help our users.”

The library’s main floor has been off limits to the public since late November, when the refurbishment began. When the work is complete, the work will have cost about $375,000, Litland said.

The lower level of the library remained open, however, and it turns out that plenty of people still came to visit to use the Internet service and check out laptops.

Litland said the library served as many as 60 people a day during December and January, with laptops checked out more than 1,600 times. That doesn’t count those who brought their own laptops to the library to use the wireless Internet service.

“I think it goes to show people rely on the library for Internet access, because it’s expensive at home,” Litland said.