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From pneumatic tubes to 3D printers: Changes are happening at St. Louis County Library’s branches

A view of one of the renovations at the Florissant Valley branch of the St. Louis County Library.
Kara Hayes Smith | St. Louis County Library
A view of one of the renovations at the Florissant Valley branch of the St. Louis County Library.

St. Louis County Library has been going through some changes these past few years – closing and reopening renovated branches and experimenting with other new programs. To date, the system will have 17 renovated or replaced branches by year's end.

In 2018, a few more branches will be renovated and then St. Louis County Library headquarters will be updated. You can find a full list of completed and planned projects here.

One of the system's largest branches, the Florissant Valley Library, is set to open this August. It exemplifies some of the different approaches the library is taking to renovation and innovation.

"We've been talking for a long time about our children's spaces and how they were not as dynamic as we wanted them to be," Sorth said. "We talked about what we could do to make them destination places for kids. Both Florissant Valley and Daniel Boone will have discovery zones for kids. They will have all sorts of interactive features that we feel allow curiosity, play and trial-and-error and cooperation and all sorts of things that set kids up to be great students at school and to be great readers."

Kristen Sorth, director of St. Louis County Library.
Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Kristen Sorth, director of St. Louis County Library.

One of those features is a series of pneumatic tubes that allow kids to see how things travel. There's a giant "light brite"-esque feature, a magnet wall and apps-based learning activities.  You can see photos of the renovation process here.

These components will all be located on lower levels of the library branch, with quieter, adult areas kept upstairs.

While there are many changes, Sorth said the core service of the library system is the same.

"The library is a place where people can find information, but it is also about community and coming to a place where you can attend programs, hear authors or hear music, spend time, do some research or start a business using our free WiFi," Sorth said.

Listen as Sorth discusses other renovation and innovation goals for the St. Louis County Library system:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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