Books and Coffee at Fullerton Public Library

On Saturday 7/23 the Fullerton Public Library will be reopening after extensive year-long renovations and the addition of a whole new section. We were able to take a tour with Library Director Maureen Gebelein and City Council Member Sharon Quirk-Silva.

Although the general floor plan of the main part of the library is unchanged the improvements are immediately noticeable. There is a row of self check-out kiosks which is just one of the improvements to book-handling.

There is a nice glow lighting the room from the far end because windows were cut into the far walls. Natural light cuts down on lighting costs and gives a great view of the newly landscaped grounds and the renovation going on across the street.

Another improvement to book-handling is the introduction of RFID (Radio Frequency ID) tags. These are stickers that are placed on library items that emit a distinct unique signal that can identify the exact particular item. The security system can scan people leaving and see, not just that a person has a book, but which particular book they have. Inventory can be conducted by waving an RFID reading wand in front of the shelf. And the unique ID can be scanned at the automated book drop and the book is automatically routed to the correct bin for restocking.

Many of the improvements make the FPL into a modern, people-friendly building. The library expects to get Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified which is a program that insures the building was built in an efficient manner using local resources and with an energy efficient result.

Probably the most intensive upgrade was made the the Launer Room (now called the Local History Room). The upgrades bring the Local History Room up to a level you might expect at the Smithsonian. One-hour full-height fire walls are fire-caulked to the ceiling. An FM-200 non-flammable gas fire suppression system might avoid damaging the archival materials in case of a fire. Special lighting that doesn’t effect older materials, and the room is humidity controlled. The History room contains many original documents from early Fullerton.

The Wifi has been upgraded from the consumer system from before the remodel to a enterprise system that should work significantly faster and more reliably. The computer section has been moved upstairs and the computer tables have shorter panels for better light and improved visibility.

The chairs, tables and shelves have all been upgraded along with the carpet and the lighting. It really seems more open and airy but that might change when it’s full of people.

A significant portion of the internal upgrades were funded by the Fullerton Library Foundation, including the Overdrive service. Overdrive will allow you to borrow e-books and audio books from the comfort of your home or on your smart device. That could be handy. You could borrow books on your Kindle, Android or iPad. Overdrive will be available in a few weeks.

With all these changes I haven’t even mentions the new section that has been added. It will include the Common Grounds Cafe, some display cases, and a large conference room.

Other improvements are a new passport office which could save you a lot of time, a Friends of the Library Book Store and new video projectors and display panels.

The dedication and celebration starts at 10:00 am. 353 W Commonwealth, 714.738.6333

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