The Milton-Edgewood Library celebrated five years at Surprise Lake Plaza last Saturday, Jan. 30. Though the celebration was for a five-year anniversary, the library has been a part of the community for nearly a century, its previous home being across from city hall.
Despite the library’s long history, leaders like branch manager Linda Case have made sure the library has stayed current and has remained an important part of life in the Milton-Edgewood area.
“Surprise Lake Plaza is a destination for families and shoppers in this area. You can go to Safeway at one end and the Dollar Store at the other end, and right in the middle is the library. The location is on a bus line, and this location is walking distance to apartments, houses and schools. It’s unique among libraries and it’s really special compared to our first location,” Case said.
More than just books, the library offers several important services like wi-fi, printing and special one on one appointments with librarians as well as a group of hard working community members dedicated to helping those in need. The digital age has changed the face of the library a little bit, but the Pierce County Library System is determined to keep libraries at the forefront of knowledge.
“The community is changing and the world is changing. People just don’t read books anymore. They have so many ways to get their information and the Pierce County Library System has made a commitment to be on top of the needs of the people. So now what’s really changed is you won’t see quite as many hard resources; resources that you hold in your hands are not the only resources we offer. Things like auto repair manuals are available online now and people can load any number of digital resources on their computer,” Case said.
The library will continue to grow and expand in the coming years, its friendly atmosphere being a factor alternative resources can’t match.
“It’s one of the places where a customer can still come in and talk face to face about their author or say ‘suggest a book for me to read,’ and you don’t get that from a computer. That face-to-face, that interaction, we really make you feel special,” Case said.
The larger size has allowed the library to have a wider variety of resources to check out.
“The library is about twice the size of the old branch. In the first year we had a 30 percent increase in circulation and a 46 percent increase in the number of customers. It’s a huge gain being in a location that’s visible and accessible,” Case said.
Of course, the main function of a library is a plethora of books for citizens to explore and jump into, and the hundreds of books available at the 6,500 square foot library is its main attraction.
“Having come to this location, we have more specialized areas – a teen section, computers and books specifically for teens. At our old library we did not have the space for an international collection but here we have a selection of books for Russian, Korean and Spanish speakers,” Case said.
The Friends of the Milton-Edgewood Library is a group dedicated to supporting the building, and has been working with the library for many years. Currently, the group is led by Diane Kerlin. For more information, stop by the library.
The Milton/Edgewood Library, located at 900 Meridian E., Suite 29, is open six days a week – Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.