Plumb Memorial Library’s new-look children’s room should be open for business by mid-February, according to library staff.

Over the past three months, the children’s department - untouched for several decades - was gutted, with the books and shelving removed. New paint, flooring and lighting have given the room a fresh, clean look. Shelving will be put in place between Jan. 14 and 16. The books, presently being stored in a warehouse in Massachusetts, will be back on the shelves the following week.

“If you are going to do this once every 50 years, you want to do it right and take your time,” said library Director Joan Stokes. “What impresses me is how clean and bright the area has become. The lighting was terrible, especially at night. But that has all improved. It’s wonderful.”

The children’s department was closed Oct. 15. Library staff and board members have since watched as the old, antiquated space has been reborn, including the lower-level entranceway and stairway to the main level. The entranceway has new flooring and fresh paint, as does the stairway.

“Without the library board, this would not be happening right now,” said Stokes.

Board Chairman Jim Geissler said the work, at a cost of some $160,000, is being funded through income earned through the library’s many endowments.

This work, according to Geissler, is just the latest in a series of renovations to Plumb Memorial Library over the past few months. The work began early last year with the renovation of the main meeting room, the result of which has been a technologically and aesthetically improved space that has become a hub for various community activities. Completed next was the elevator, which has been available to the public late last year.

"The money is there,” said Geissler about those profits earned from investments with the endowment, “so the idea was that we should be using it for the betterment of the city. We are not touching any of the principal either.”

Stokes said the data drops will be installed after the shelving and books are in place. With that will come four new computers for the children’s department. Stokes said that, with the new elevator, adults with mobility issues no longer must use computers in the children’s department but can now easily access the main level.

“This all has opened up so many more possibilities for programming,” said Stokes, adding that the staff is already planning additional programs for the coming months.

Thanks to the Olde Ripton Garden Club’s $250 donation, Stokes said the children’s department will also have a new rug on which youngsters can sit and read or enjoy programs. The furniture will be provided by the Friends of the Shelton Libraries.

“The Friends are so very generous,” said library Children’s Programmer Maura Gualtiere. “A lot of people do not understand if you become a Friend or if you patronize our book sale, the money comes back into the library. If you patronize the library, you and your child will see that.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com