Sharen Storhoff, Mabel Library Board chairman, and librarian Donna Johnson stand in the Mabel Library's children's section that will soon be renovated thanks to a generous gift from a former middle school teacher.  DAVID STOEGER/NEWS-RECORD
Sharen Storhoff, Mabel Library Board chairman, and librarian Donna Johnson stand in the Mabel Library's children's section that will soon be renovated thanks to a generous gift from a former middle school teacher. DAVID STOEGER/NEWS-RECORD
The children's area at the Mabel Public Library will be closed from Oct. 9 through Oct. 16 as new shelving is installed due to a generous gift from a former Mabel teacher.

Library board chairperson Sharen Storhoff said Ruth Wunderlich of Austin, a former middle school teacher at Mabel from 1948-51, left a generous gift of $5,000 through friend Leona Amdahl.

"Leona brought it up to the library board that we would be receiving this gift...Ruth said she had such pleasant memories of the Mabel community and the school and wanted to remember the community."

Part of the gift has already been used to replace chairs at each of the library's computer stations.

Mid-America Business Systems has been contracted to provide and install the new shelves on Oct. 15. The total cost for the project was initially estimated at $4,936.11.

"We have a lot of work to do ahead of time. We have to take out and box all the books and mark them, and after the shelves are removed, we need to check all the walls for damage and see if we need to do any painting," Storhoff explained.

Benefits of the project will include more space, better organization and Library Director Donna Johnson believes it will be more appealing to the young people.

Storhoff added that the library group will have a work night on Oct. 15 to put all the books back.

Both Storhoff and Johnson expressed their appreciation to Wunderlich for the donation.

"We've been thinking about it (the renovations), but when we received this gift, it was the perfect opportunity to renovate the children's area," Storhoff said. "This is the last section of the library to have an upgrade."

Johnson said they hope to have an open house to celebrate the re-opening of the children's area and welcome the children back to the library. The rest of the library will be open during regular hours during the renovations.

In addition to the physical library improvements, Storhoff added they are working on improving the library's website through SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Cooperating).

"New arrival books will come up (on the site) along with a New York Bestsellers list will be available.... It's not complete, but we are working on it," she concluded.