At a time when books are dividing a growing number of communities in Michigan and beyond, they did the exact opposite on Saturday in Superior Township, where hundreds of people gathered to form a human chain to fill the shelves of their new library.
More than 200 volunteers showed up at the old library on MacArthur Boulevard to form a human chain to move the library’s book collection to the new library building nearby. Many started lining up around 1:45 p.m. At 2:10 p.m., a book titled “Pass It On” by author Marilyn Sadler came down the human chain with a GoPro camera attached. It was a special way to record the moment, suggested by children’s librarian Nicole Russell.
“We attached a GoPro to the ‘Pass It On’ picture book, which is a story about the gaming phone, where you start with one thing, it kind of changes until the end,” Russell said. “That’s where we are now, we’re starting with this small building, and moving on to something much bigger, much bigger, and much more accessible to people in our community.”
“We’re going to film and people can say hello to the building, goodbye to the building, and just a hello,” she said. “Then we’ll put it up as a montage for everyone to see.”
On Nov. 14, the doors to Superior Township’s new library will finally open after residents pushed about 15 years for a building that was more spacious and full of amenities. And residents, including Corrie Root, 67, of Superior Township, are excited about their new 7,800-square-foot library, built from the ground up.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Root, who featured on Saturday’s Book Channel. “We have been waiting for the new library for some time. It has been very nice here in the fire station. But we need more space.”
Neal Ruben:Michigan’s missing historical signs are ‘noticeable’
After:Tense rallies in Dearborn amid LGBTQ book debate
Root lives only a few miles away and she said she and her husband helped with the new location. It was just for her to come and show her support.
“We wanted to come support the library,” she said. “You know, we made contributions to the new branch and we wanted to make sure it all moved, and you want to be a part of that.”
Not only did residents come out to support the move, but members of organizations like Second Baptist Church, a church based in Ypsilanti, also came.
“We’re partnering with the organization because it’s important to have our presence in the community,” said church volunteer Jackie Hickmon. “And of course, we are strong advocates of reading.”
Hickmon said the organization was drawn to the positivity of the event.
“We hear so much negativity in the world today,” she said. “Seeing a community of diverse individuals from diverse backgrounds come together is really what community is.”
In 2006, Superior Township joined the Ypsilanti District Library group, and what was supposed to be a temporary stay in one of the rooms of a fire station became an extended stay in 2007. The library was too small and only had 4,000 books and a few desktop computers. . Residents needed more, but delays from the Great Recession to the pandemic had put the project on hold — that is, until recently.
The new location is nearly 6,000 square feet larger than the old one, providing space for new amenities such as larger book collections, learning gardens, a new delivery service to drop off books, more computers and a fan favorite: new meeting rooms.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Mary Garboden, civil service administrator for the YDL-Higher branch. “Everyone is super excited. We get questions all the time. ‘When does it open?’ ‘Do you want this?’ One of the features that people are most excited about are the meeting rooms, as our old site didn’t have any enclosed spaces.”
Sam Killian, community relations specialist at YDL, said everyone was very excited about the new decision.
“It’s 2022 and we’re finally sort of opening up the new space that we kind of intended to open up for almost 15 years at this point,” Killian said. “Obviously very excited about what this is going to bring to the neighborhoods there. It means that now in our service area everyone in the neighborhood will be within a 10 minute drive of a full service library and connected to all the resources everyone needs here.
The Upper Library Group aimed to raise $2 million for the new building, and with the help of fundraising and donations, they raised almost all of that, but they’re short $100,000. They are still accepting donations.
The former location will return to its former function as a space for the Township of Superior Fire Department. A few kilometers away, the new library will open its doors six days a week. The opening hours have not yet been announced.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. on November 14 for the community to come celebrate the new library at 1900 N. Harris Road. Throughout the week they will be hosting events to bring the new space in. For a list of events, visit: www.ypsilibrary.org