An unusual form of library service was provided one memorable day in 1986 when a Bangor woman in labor was forced to stop at the branch by a blinding rainstorm. Her baby girl was born in the library parking lot, assisted by three nurses who happened to be in the library, and by firemen from next door who held a tarp over the woman's truck to protect all concerned. The rain abated, the family continued to the hospital, where mom and baby were doing fine. Since baby Ashley was too young for a library card, the library staff sent flowers instead.
Along with the branch's newest patron and the township, the branch continued to grow. By 1995 the Oshtemo Branch was bursting at the seams. That year Kalamazoo Library District voters approved funding to prepare its facilities for a new century of service to the community. Ground was broken a year later for a new 18,000 square foot building to house Oshtemo Branch. Service continued in the old building until the new one was completed, then the old one was demolished.
The New Building
The whimsical new building arose like a medieval village around a castle. Designed to appeal to children and the young at heart, it features colorful, basic geometric forms. A circular path leads through the barrel-vaulted reading room, past the reference area, circulation desk, young adult and children's rooms, and into a community meeting room. A quiet story room enchants young patrons with its floor-level windows and pillows. Windows overlook a hidden courtyard featuring Michael Hayden's Time Bender, a mock sundial sculpture. A second Hayden piece, Excalibur, soars into a pyramid-shaped skylight over the audio-visual collection. It wasn't long before the unusual building was immortalized in art, when local artist Mary Hatch used it as a background for her oil painting Storybook Bride in 2003.