Willard Library is showing off its renovation. Here’s when you can see the new spaces

Willard Library is photographed on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 in Battle Creek, Mich.

Willard Library is photographed on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 in Battle Creek, Mich.

Battle Creek’s Willard Library is ready to show off its new and improved spaces.

The public library is hosting open houses June 9 and 10 at its Helen Warner Branch and downtown locations.

The Helen Warner Branch at 36 Minges Creek Place closed for renovations in March and reopened May 31. The open house begins at 5:15 p.m. June 9, with a dedication of the Dean O. Barnum Amphitheater and the Joanne TenBrink Creative Space.

Barnum, a philanthropist and Kellogg Community College professor, established the $1 million Barnum-Willard Trust — the largest gift in the 126-year history of the library. TenBrink, a longtime Battle Creek resident, donated more than $95,000 to Willard Library as part of her estate, with some of the Creative Space equipment inspired by TenBrink’s skills as a master seamstress.

“The library is delighted with these generous gifts that will be an investment in the future to benefit local residents,” Library Director Cathy Lucas said in a release.

From 6 to 7 p.m., guests can explore the Creative Space and examine its new equipment, which includes a sewing machine, heat press, photo box, jewelry repair kit and metal stamping. Door prizes will be given away and staff will demonstrate how to do craft projects with the equipment.

The open house marks the launch of creative technology programs at the branch library, through which open labs will be offered from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. most Tuesdays.

Mural to be showcased at downtown library

Students play video games inside the lower-level teen room on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 at Willard Library in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Students play video games inside the lower-level teen room on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 at Willard Library in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Willard Library’s downtown location at 7 W. Van Buren St. will celebrate local artist Jaziel Pugh’s mural from 5 to 7 p.m. June 10.

Pugh, a Battle Creek digital artist, illustrator, painter and modern expressionist, created the large mural in the lower level of the downtown library during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mural, “Two Sides to Every Story,” includes images of popular figures from Pokémon, Peanuts, Hello Kitty and Sesame Street.

“The mural’s core is a juxtaposition between color and aesthetic,” Pugh said in a release. “The mood that each wall gives is a complete opposite of each other. Thinking of opposites like colorful and dull, light and dark, happy and sad.”

Guests should enter and exit the library from the lower level’s side entrance off the parking lot. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, visit willardlibrary.org.

Contact reporter Nick Buckley at [email protected] or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley

This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Willard Library hosting open house events at its Battle Creek branches

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