Lee-Whedon reopens with new look

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Library patrons, including Manjaree Mahanti (center), read in the newly remodeled Lee-Whedon Memorial Library. The library closed for five weeks for the renovations. It reopened last week.

MEDINA – The library used to feel and look like a big long room all painted in the same color, a beige-yellow. The carpet was also one solid color.

“It was kind of blah,” said Catherine Cooper, director of the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library.

But not anymore. The library is now full of color – on the walls and on the floor. The walls have been painted green, blue and yellow. The carpet has circles and other designs to help delineate spaces in the library. The library also has many pedant lights that hang from the ceiling.

“People have been very happy,” Cooper said Friday at the redone site on West Avenue. “They like the warmth.”

The contents of the library were removed and put in storage units for five weeks while the contractor, Sicoli Construction Services of Niagara Falls, gave the library a new look inside. The project also replaced the ceiling, and added many new high-speed Internet access points and upgraded computer technology.

Library director Catherine Cooper sits in one of the reupholstered chairs. She said the remodeled library adds “warmth” and technology. Many of the new design features also help to delineate spaces in the library.

Lee-Whedon used to have cords stretched across the floor for people to plug into the Internet. Now there are six “power chairs” that have power hook-ups right in the chairs. Cooper said more power plug-ins will be added to tables for patrons.

She likes a new teen area that includes two of the power chairs. There is also a divider with a big circle cutout for people to walk through into the teen space. That helps give teens the feeling of their own spot in the library.

Lee-Whedon opened the 11,000-square-foot library in 1966. The inside of the building didn’t change too much for nearly a half century until the five-week construction project from Sept. 28 to Nov. 1.

Lee-Whedon paid $272,000 for the improvements. A state grant could pay for half of the costs.

Cooper said the project brings Lee-Whedon into the 21st Century.

The library would like to work on the children’s area in another project next year.

“We’d like to have a storybook entrance and make it more welcoming,” Cooper said. “First we need to catch our breath and then we will do more.”

This picture was taken looking out from the teen area to the main floor of the library. Lee-Whedon wanted to make a space that was dedicated for teens.