About Muskegon Heights Branch
Muskegon Heights Branch Library— A Gem in the Community
The Muskegon Heights Branch Library is located at 2808 Sanford Street in Muskegon Heights, the “City of Friendly People.” The branch is housed in what was once the Muskegon Heights train terminal for the Grand Trunk Railroad. The Grand Trunk Railroad traveled on the 52-mile-long Muskegon Shore train tracks. During the 1930's, it had over 75,000 railroad cars travel to and from Muskegon each year. Passenger service was discontinued in 1970.
The building was designed by architect Robert J. West and erected in 1953 by the Muskegon Construction Company. Basil P. O’Grady was the mayor of Muskegon Heights at that time.
It is a small branch with a lot of heart, located about one block from the downtown section of Muskegon Heights where many businesses and shops once bustled with activity. Today the Library remains one of the gems of its community.
How many people visit daily?
On average, approximately 200 patrons visit daily—mostly adults—many of them to use the nine computers. It is divided into two sections, one for adults and one for children. It also has a community room where many of the branch programs are held.
While not a museum, it proudly houses several art pieces by local artist Rita Miller, who has provided eight wood sculptures, including one of two full-sized statues entitled Moses, which are a tribute to Harriet Tubman. On the rear of the building is an outdoor mural entitled Books which was painted by a former employee.
In addition to nine computer stations primarily used by adults and teens, there are two AWE computer stations, one Early Literacy Station for use by children ages of two to eight, and one AfterSchool Edge for children ages six to 12. The latter was provided to this branch through a $3,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
What do patrons like about this branch?
Some of the things that patrons like most are the privacy shields at the computer stations and the new urban genre book display. This display makes the books more prominent and has increased the circulation of those authors because they are easier to find. Patrons enjoy the increased number of programs for both children and adults now being offered.
The Community Room
Another popular feature is the community room. It was updated in the past year with audio/visual equipment and a sound bar, as well as new tables and chairs purchased from grants obtained by the Heights Branch “Friends” group. The room is used on a weekly basis by Read Muskegon counselors, Omega Psi Phi fraternity, the “Old Timers” and Baker Street Block Club. A former Library employee, Major Stewart, a prominent accountant and pastor, had his book signing here for a large crowd of family, old teachers and friends. Recently, the “Young Men” Mentoring group held a program with 80 people in attendance. The room is used often by various individuals and community groups and is scheduled for use on a “first come, first served” basis.
Despite its small size, the Muskegon Heights Branch Library has a rich history and contributes much to the betterment of the community.