Children's Space Getting 'Refresh'

Children's staff
Janet Metzger, center, head of children’s services, sits with two members of her staff, Cyndi Shutt, left, and Stacy Digianantonio in the newly painted Children’s Programming Room. Before the end of the year, the entire Children’s Department will have a refreshed look with new paint, carpet and furniture. Meanwhile, the staff will also see a significant change when Metzger retires at the end of 2022 after more than 50 years of library service, including 15 at Rodman Library.

While it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas outside, it’s beginning to look a lot different inside the Children’s Department at Rodman Public Library.

The area is being “refreshed” and will be a great gift to the many kids and adults who utilize the space.

With new paint, new carpet, and new furniture, the children’s area will have an entirely new look and feel before the end of the year. So will the gallery and the auditorium, which is also getting a new stage curtain.

However, in order to make all of these exciting changes, the children's area will be closed from Monday, November 28 through Friday, December 16. In the meantime, the department will operate out of the gallery and patrons will be able to request materials through the Rodman Library app, online at, or by calling 330-821-2665, ext. 223. Patrons wishing to brose for materials should visit the children's collection at the Rodman Branch.

“This is really the product of the staff listening to the public and paying attention to what patrons wanted,” said Rodman Public Library Executive Director Eric Taggart. “The children’s staff really wanted a place where families could hang out together at the library.”

The RPL staff noticed that following programs like Storytime, Wee Read and Play Group, parents and other caregivers would stay after, looking for more ways to interact with their little ones. The alterations to the children’s space will provide more opportunities for that.

“We are making the space more interactive and more flexible,” said Taggart, noting some of the shelving will be mobile so that the area can be opened up during programs and special events.

While there will be less shelving, Taggart stressed that the size of the children’s collection has not changed and the library still has as many books and other materials as it had in the past.

“We had a lot of shelves in the area before, but if you really looked, some of them had a lot of open space,” said Taggart. “We have just gotten a little more creative about where shelves are placed and how they are arranged in order to open up the area and give us a significant amount of open space.”

Much of that planning was conducted with the help of Library Design Associates, Inc., of Powell, Ohio, which specializes in organizing and arranging areas in order for it to be utilized to its maximum potential.

Much of the work such as painting, electrical upgrades and other services will be handled by local contractors.

When the refresh is complete, the children’s area will include:

  • An area with board books and interactive toys.
  • A comfortable seating area for adult caregivers where they can plug in devices while their children utilize the space.
  • Tables and chairs for studying and tutoring.
  • Four computers available for children.
  • An area with two televisions and two gaming systems.

“We knew that a lot of tweens, those 9, 10 and 11 years old, really wanted a space similar to our Teen Spot,” said Taggart. “The gaming area will give them that.”

The project is being funded through donations that have been developed over many years that were given by individuals for a project such as this, including a substantial gift from the late Jo Ann Werbung, a local resident who gave generously to many local organizations in her will, including Rodman Public Library.

“The library is very appreciative to all of those who have donated to the institution throughout the years,” said Taggart. “That generosity makes these kinds of projects possible. Those gifts allow us to provide a great space for children that will be a significant improvement to our facility.”