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Posted: 01/09/13


CHECK IT OUT. Above, Ray Township Library Interim Director Suzanne Graham stands on the library's new porch, which was completed in November thanks to a $20,000 grant. The grant also bought the drop box that was placed next to the porch. The library is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the building's construction this year as well as the 30th anniversary of it opening as a library.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Ray Twp Library fixes
150-year-old facility

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      The Ray Township Library has completed major restoration just in time to celebrate major milestones.
       A $20,000 grant from the Robert C. Reinhardt Library Fund paid for the majority of costs associated with replacing the library's front porch, repointing the building's foundation and installing lamp posts.
       The grant money also paid for a new drop box as well as a new rug for the children's room.
       Terry Goike, Ray Township Library Board secretary, said the library applied for the grant in 2011 and received the funding at the beginning of 2012, allowing for the library to finish the main projects by the end of November and install the lamps this month.
       She said the porch was unsafe and crumbling, while the foundations needed looking at due to age. Repointing is the renewal of external mortar joints in masonry.
       "Without the grant, our current funding wouldn't have done as much as we were able to do," Goike said. "We probably wouldn't have repointed the foundation."
       The total costs of the projects came to $29,000. Of that amount, $5,000 came from the township's general fund and $4,000 from the library's budget.
       The completion of the project came at the perfect time, as the library is gearing up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its opening and the 150th anniversary of the building's construction this year.
       Goike said the library is planning on holding special celebrations for the anniversaries, and hopes to gather input on them from a new library director and residents alike.
       "We're always looking for ideas from the community on what they want for programs and services," Goike said. "It started off in the `80s with volunteers, so it's always been a community effort to maintain and promote the library."
       The library is a former one-room schoolhouse originally built in 1863. The school, known as "Mill School," educated Ray Township children for 91 years.
       Ownership of the property transferred to Ray Township in 1953 and was reconditioned in 1983 to become the library.
       In 2006, voters approved of the library receiving a separate 0.3 millage to pay for its operations, which in turn allowed it to join the Suburban Library Cooperative.
       This updated the library to acquiring electronic check-out and electronic media, and gives patrons the chance to access materials from other libraries in the cooperative, such as in Romeo, Armada and Shelby Township.
       The library also provides four Kindles for people to check out should they want to try out the devices without having to buy them, which Goike said were funded through a grant.
       "We're part of the 21st century even though we're in a 150-year-old building," Goike said with a laugh.
       In addition to books, magazines and e-books, the library offers audio books, DVDs and video games.
       Suzanne Graham, interim library director, said joining the cooperative helped open many new avenues to the residents, and their support of the library via the millage is a sign of them wanting it to continue.
       "It's a great library, and the residents are wonderful," Graham said.
       Graham was the former director before stepping down in December, and came back to fill in as the library seeks a new director.
       Goike said the library is looking for candidates with a degree in library services or someone with one year of library experience. Applications will be accepted until Jan. 28.
       The library is staffed with two clerks and a director.
       For more information about the library, call (586) 749-7130 or visit www.raylibrary.org.
      


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