Children's section of Buffalo library branches get makeover as new Rotary Reads Kids Clubs

Sep 30, 2020

Four children's sections among the the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system have a newer colorful look, designed to create a relaxed space for visitors, funded through the Rotary Club of Buffalo.

"We can now welcome our youngest patrons to a children's area that is brighter, more child-friendly, comfortable, easily maintained and complete with a reading boat, colorful furniture and branded signage," said Mary Jean Jakubowski, director of the Buffalo and Erie County Library.

Carolyn Murray, president of the Rotary Club of Buffalo, speaks inside the Dudley Branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system, one of the locations to receive capital improvements to launch the Rotary Reads Kids Club. Behind her, Darren Stanford is reading to his young son, Dylan, in a boat-shaped seat that was included in the changes.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A grant of approximately $116,000 includes new furniture and signage. Four branches receiving capital improvements were the Dudley Branch on South Park Avenue, the Leroy R. Coles, Jr. branch on East Delavan Avenue, the Isaias Gonzalez-Soto Branch on Porter Avenue, and the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch on Jefferson Avenue. The remaining branches within the City of Buffalo are receiving matching signage.

"Over the years, our foundation has given major projects. Some of the projects you may recall - our first one was in 1922, Rotary Field at UB," said Mike Sendor, president of the Rotary Club Foundation. "Then we did the Rotary Rink around 1996 in front of Fountain Plaza. We did the Rotary Flagpole in Erie Basin Marina. And we contributed heavily to the Frank Lloyd Wright Boathouse. We're very pleased to be able to make this contribution to the library system for Rotary Reads Kids Club."

Jakubowski pointed out that with Buffalo children attending school in a stay-at-home remote setting, the library system offers them a safe and nurturing environment, which may also help parents who may juggle work schedules with child care.

"We welcome people to come in. Most certainly this is a welcoming space," she said. "We consider ourselves an extension of the classroom, and of course in the City of Buffalo, now our Rotary Reads Kids Clubs make it even more inviting to come into any of your Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries."

Jakubowski added that COVID-related safety protocols include mandatory masks for any guests over the age of two. Surfaces will be cleaned after every transaction.