A New Nook
Director Denise Robinson leads Brownsburg Public Library renovation
By Stephanie Dolan
Since she was a teenager, Denise Robinson found herself lost in the book stacks at the Brownsburg Public Library.
“I started out as a page in high school shelving books,” she said. “They never got rid of me. I love it here. It’s a beautiful thing. We have two other staff members who were hired a year before me, and they’re still here as well.”
The current library director, she’s served on the library staff in one capacity or another since 1986.
Robinson, 50, who lives in Pittsboro with her husband David and their three children, loves the people she works with as well as the patrons she serves daily.
“I love the variety of work,” she said. “It’s not high pressure, but it’s satisfying. The work that we do, it’s fulfilling. We have a great working environment, which makes it fun to come to work.”
Robinson’s director position focuses on strategic planning, ordering and personnel, but she does a little bit of everything each day.
“It’s often quiet. There is a peaceful energy to the library,” she said. “We do have our busy moments, so it develops a rhythm. We tend to have programming each week, if not daily, so there’s nearly constant movement and seeing different people.”
Those who apply to work at the library with her almost always highlight a love of reading.
“The people who work here do love reading, but they also love working with people, and that’s the beauty of the library,” Robinson said.
Assistant library director Amie Scott describes herself as the yin to Robinson’s yang.
“Working with Denise is the best thing ever,” Scott said. “She is extremely organized and really super smart financially. I’m more the creative artsy side of things. We work really well together. It’s one of those situations where you’re not just working for a boss, but for a friend.”
Over the last two years, the library has undergone a remodel and is in the midst of celebrating the finishing touches throughout the building. On Feb. 22, the facility is hosting a Welcome Back Celebration for Grown Ups in honor of the project’s completion.
“Our community inspired the remodel,” Scott said. “We collected a lot of data before we made the move to renovate. We did our research, and this renovation was for the community and the need we observed.”
Research including observing how patrons used the space, which lead to the realization that the library was “woefully low” on study rooms and that even though a teen section existed patrons were clueless about its existence, Scott said.
Without adding on to the 50,000 square foot building, the renovation transformed the space, opening up existing and adding window areas, creatively placing tables, study desks and moving the stacks of books throughout the building, giving it a modern feel from the children’s department to the large print books.
“It’s gorgeous,” library board president Patti Hammerle said. “We love it. I can’t believe we didn’t make the footprint bigger because it’s just so big and open and modern. It looks like the patrons are really enjoying it so we’re all very happy.”
As a whole, the library board is thrilled with how Robinson managed the remodel, Hammerle said. “She really just jumped in and took off, and we’re absolutely thrilled with what she did leadership-wise.”
For Robinson, the party where people can enjoy the building and use the library offers will act as the culmination and celebration of the past two years of work. From taking snapshots at the photo booth to listening to live music from Big Daddy Caddy and even jumping in the bounce house, she’ll be mingling and making sure things run smoothly throughout the course of the evening.
“This is an adult only event, so how often do adults get to play in a bounce house?” Robinson said. “Attendees can play with that and some life size games and scavenger hunts. There will also be dancing.”
While Robinson knows she’ll enjoy the evening, she says her primary focus during the event will be acting as hostess to make sure people are having fun and answering their questions.
Scott agrees that she wants to take her turn shoes off in the bounce house, but she’s looking at the bigger picture.
“We are really excited to be able to feature the building, and we’re really hoping that people will explore and get a feel for the new space,” she said.
The library held an event Feb. 11 that was free and open to the public that included a ribbon cutting and tours of the new space throughout the day..
“ is more for adults, to just let your hair loose and celebrate the fact that it’s done,” she said. “We stayed open the entire time. We continued to offer all of our services except for our meeting rooms. I’m really pleased with the results.”
Big changes include growing study rooms from three to nine spaces, turning some staff space into a teen and tween space and the children’s area appears lighter and brighter.
“The flow of the library just works better,” Robinson said. “The look is updated and fresh.”
Getting to know Denise Robinson
What is your favorite book?
I like fiction. I kind of bounce around. I love to read, but I don’t get a lot of time to read.
Do you have a vacation planned?
Yes, spring break with my daughter.
What’s your favorite movie?
“Ever After” and “The Princess Bride”
Who or what inspires you?
My family and just the work that I do, seeing people appreciate what we do.
What do you do to relax?
Read and watch movies, hang out with family.
(Photos by Eric Pritchett)
After celebrating a century of serving the community in 2018, Brownsburg Public Library director Denise Robinson supervised a transformative renovation at the library that means modern amenities, open floor plans and continued resources for the public.
From toddlers to tweens and teens to adults, every library patron in Brownsburg benefits from updates throughout the building.
The Brownsburg Public Library overhauled its 50,000 square foot space. Without adding to the building, the modern renovation provides six more study rooms, a teen space, updated children’s space and places to sit and study or read throughout the building.