The Camden Public Library will hold Open House Week from Monday, July 26 to Saturday, July 31.

“Come on down and check out our new look and feel,” said Library Director Nikki Maounis. “Earlier this year, we were fortunate to be the recipient of a $25,000 grant to refresh our space from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. Come and see what we were able to do with that money! The spending of the grant was well thought out by all library staff.¬†Ideas were brainstormed around what types of things would make the library experience more enjoyable for our users.”

Some of the recurring themes were ideas such as comfortable furniture to create reading nooks, better lighting around book stacks, and supplemental shelving to help create a more comfortable browsing experience.

The grant also came at a pivotal time as the library’s board of trustees, along with library management, was working through the creation of a long-range plan.¬†Community input was gathered through surveys and other such devices so that the long-range plan would reflect the needs of the community.

With the grant funds, the library has been able to make several changes to create a distinctive and more spacious atmosphere and enhance the “browsability” of the book collection. The library has rearranged all the books and added a considerable amount of signage to create a browser-friendly system, with a more bookstore-like experience. The library has also been able to create a Teen Zone, with more space and more furniture, and new iPads as well. In addition, the library now has more public computers, better lighting, more book shelving, yet still more space and comfortable furniture in both the Reading Room and on the first floor.

The new system has enabled the library to organize books by areas of interest, and still retain the Dewey Decimal System of locating individual titles. “We’re bringing Dewey into the 21st century,” Maounis said.

“For about a year now we’ve been talking about the library as a destination and what things would help to make the library more of a destination than it is today,” said Jamie Ritter, deputy library director, who also oversees development activities for the library. “Creating an enjoyable browsing experience and having defined spaces in the building where people can relax comfortably and get lost in a great book are just a few ways to accomplish that.”

The library’s open house will include a video display of new library features, a scavenger hunt to highlight changes, and refreshments. For more information call the library at 236-3440.