MOUNT VERNON — If you stop by the Children’s Floor at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, make sure to check out the new digs long enough to play a game of hopscotch on the liquid floor tiles.

This is one of many improvements to the Children’s Floor, which was significantly renovated this summer thanks to a partnership with The Ariel Foundation and Knox County Foundation. Ariel Foundation replaced the windows, while Knox County Foundation provided a matching grant to fund upgraded carpet and furnishings.

Kids of all ages have been “wowed” by freshly painted walls, colorful carpet, improved lighting, and bright, comfy chairs nestled in reading nooks. 

Jen Odenweller and Theresa Morris of Ariel Foundation joined Knox County Foundation’s Lisa Lloyd and Kara Ersnberger for a tour of the facility, guided by Library Assistant Director Cassandra Peters and Children’s Librarian Erica Newton.

Ms. Lloyd remarked that “Knox County Foundation was proud to be a part of the children’s floor renovations at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County. … The new carpet brings so much vibrancy and life to the area, which mimics all of the colorful books and furniture in the area. We hope children and families will enjoy the new flooring and improvements for years to come.” 

Ms. Newton says, “The new carpet exceeded my expectations and I couldn’t be happier. We’ve overheard several children walking around saying, “I love my new library.”

Ms. Newton and Elementary Program Coordinator Nikki Thomas worked for weeks with professional movers to coordinate and complete the second-floor renovations. They even did the painting themselves, with help from Library Facilities Director Monica Smith.

Newton adds, “You can’t help but smile as soon as you step onto the Children’s floor… The library is such an important part of the community and patrons appreciate the effort we put into it.” 

Ariel Foundation’s matching grant to replace windows improved not only the view from the Children’s Floor, but the west-facing window bank for the entire building. The Library wanted to work with a local vendor, so Facilities Director Monica Smith contacted Yoder Windows of Fredericktown.

“They matched the style so perfectly that it’s hard to distinguish the new ones from the original ones,” Ms. Smith says. Patrons have noticed the windows, however, especially those utilizing historical resources.

“It was really important to fix the windows in the Genealogy Room,” says Ms. Peters, “The items in this room are irreplaceable, and the windows leaked whenever we had heavy rain. We are thrilled with the improvements!” 

“Completing this was a collaborative achievement, and I’m proud of the Foundation and Library staff for bringing this project together. We’re grateful to live in a community with wonderful local foundations, who are generous in helping the Library provide a welcoming environment for patrons,” says Library Director John K. Chidester. 

For more information on Children’s Floor activities and resources, visit, call (740) 392-BOOK, or stop by the Main Library at 201 N. Mulberry Street, Mount Vernon during library hours.

The Life & Culture section is brought to you by Knox Community Hospital.