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Library's children's section to be redone

Beginning Wednesday, visitors to the Rochester Public Library children's section may experience reactions similar to the shoemaker astonished to find new shoes secretly made by elves during the night in the famous children's book "The Elves and the Shoemaker."

Starting Tuesday night, workers will begin replacing sections of the library's drab 19-year-old carpet with a more kid-friendly mixture of bright yellow, orange, red and blue shapes. The new carpet is part of a six-week renovation project, said spokesman John Hunziker.

"The idea is they want the kids to feel like the library is more their place," Hunziker said.

The children's section will be open during the renovations, which will only happen during the night, with workers lifting up entire shelves of books to replace the carpet underneath. Some areas may be temporarily inaccessible to children to ensure their safety, but librarians are able to fetch books for them, Hunziker said.

The $150,000 project will eventually feature a 9-foot-bridge over a river of blue carpet and a new sign that will dangle from three trees. A children's help desk, adorned with tree trunks and two reference computers, and an art room are also part of the plan, he said.


A new mural with squirrels, monarchs and other aspects of nature is already on the wall.

On Monday, the fish tank will also disappear for a few weeks, he said, which could cause some concern, as all the children are excited to see a clownfish that resembles the main character of "Finding Nemo" in the tank. The tank will eventually return and include more tropical and Minnesotan fish and, of course, Nemo. Otherwise, "I would have a riot on my hands," Hunziker joked.

Money for the project is coming from private donations, the Rochester Public Library Foundation, the Friends of the Rochester Public Library and Rochester's Capital Improvement Fund. The designs are on display in the children's section.

"I think kids are going to absolutely love it," Hunziker said.

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