The Grand Rapids Public Library is located in Grand Rapids, MI. It includes one Main Library branch located in downtown Grand Rapids, and 7 smaller branches spread out within the city limits.

GRPL Main Branch

History

The Grand Rapids Public Library was founded in 1871 and was located within the Grand Rapids City Hall. In 1904, the library moved to the Ryerson Building which served as a permanent home for the library. The building was a gift from arts and education benefactor, and native son, Martin A. Ryerson. In 1967, the library expanded to more than double in size. The addition was named the Keeler wing, in honor of a $1.2 million gift from Mike and Mary Ann Keeler. This gift was part of the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation's $8.5 million capital campaign which raised funds towards the $31.5 million building improvement project.

The Renovation

A successful bond proposal in Grand Rapids in September 1997 triggered a $31.5 million, seven-building library improvement and expansion campaign. Four existing branch libraries were renovated, three new facilities were developed to replace antiquated and non-accessible facilities, and the Main Library, including the historic Ryerson building, was renovated. In January, 2001, renovation on the Main Library began that forced it to operate out of a nearby warehouse for nearly 2 years. Since the 1967 expansion, the original Ryerson building was mostly closed off to patrons and served to house staff offices and the historical archives. The renovation turned the Ryerson building back into a public area and citizens of Grand Rapids could once again use the original stairway and doors to enter the library. The Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation raised $8.5 million towards the $31.5 million total. As part of this capital campaign, the 1967 addition was renamed the Keeler wing, in honor of a $1.2 million gift from Mike and Mary Ann Keeler. The renovation also opened up the Ryerson and Keeler wings to one another, creating a center "atrium" that allows visitors to see more clearly the layout and how the two buildings are joined. The renovation of the downtown Main Library was complete in April 2003. In October 2004, the Grand Rapids Public Library celebrated their 100th year in the Ryerson building with a series of free programs. The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a cornerstone box and its contents. The copper box, unearthed earlier that summer from the Ryerson building cornerstone, was on display. The documents placed inside provided a glimpse of what life was like at the turn-of-the-century in Grand Rapids and the people who worked at the library.


The Details

The first branch to be renovated was the Seymour Branch located at 2350 Eastern SE. Renovations expanded the youth area, increased the floor space to accommodate more items in the collection and more computers to be used for Internet and Online Catalog computers.

A large portion of the project was devoted to the downtown Main Library, which was the second undertaking. In January 2001, renovation began that forced the library to operate out of a nearby warehouse for nearly 2 years. Since the 1967 Keeler wing expansion, the original Ryerson building was mostly closed off to patrons and served to house staff offices and the historical archives. The renovation turned the Ryerson building back into a public area and citizens of Grand Rapids once again used the original stairway and doors to enter the library, changing it's address from 60 Library Plaza to 111 Library Street. The renovation also opened up the Ryerson and Keeler wings to one another, creating a center "atrium" that allows visitors to see more clearly the layout and how the two buildings are joined. The renovation of the downtown Main Library was complete in April 2003.

The last of the branches was opened in August 2002. The West Leonard branch completed the branch expansion project while the Main Library project was still ongoing. Located at 1017 Leonard NW, the West Leonard branch still serves an area of the city that was previously lacking in library services and makes information more easily available.

100th Anniversary

In October 2004, the Grand Rapids Public Library celebrated their 100th year in the Ryerson building with a series of free programs. The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a cornerstone box and its contents. The copper box, unearthed earlier that summer from the Ryerson building cornerstone, was on display. The documents placed inside provided a glimpse of what life was like at the turn-of-the-century in Grand Rapids and the people who worked at the library.

A photo essay was also placed online to exhibit what the library looked like in 1904.

Locations

The Main Library is located at 111 Library Street.

The 7 branches are:

Madison Square Branch1201 Madison SE
Ottawa Hills Branch1150 Giddings SE
Seymour Branch2350 Eastern SE
Van Belkum Branch1563 Plainfield NE
West Leonard Branch1017 Leonard NW
West Side Branch713 Bridge NW
Yankee Clipper Branch2025 Leonard NE

Services

The Grand Rapids Public Library offers a wide variety of services to its patron base. Besides the obvious circulating items, it also offers delivery service to the homebound, an email serviced Reference Desk call AskUs, free patron classes ranging from Internet 101 to getting out of debt, local history research, frequent author speakers and other special events, and so much more.

External links

Except where otherwise noted, this content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. See Copyrights.


Built by Friendly Code