Crete Public Library’s Coffee Connection celebrates 10 years
June 28, 2012 2:46PM
Updated: August 2, 2012 6:01AM
For the past 10 years, Crete Public Library visitors have been able to take a break from browsing the collection to have beverages and snacks thanks to the library and Crete-Monee 201U’s Coffee Connection, a shop located on the library’s second floor that is run by special education students from Crete-Monee High School.
Coffee Connection started as a grant project submitted by administrative librarian Jane Schulten in 2001.
“It was a great opportunity to provide library patrons with some of the perks they were enjoying at area book stores but, more importantly, it addressed the needs of local special education students to be included in valuable real-life work experiences,” Schulten said. More than 40 students have passed through the program since it started.
“The library could provide a safe, accessible and flexible environment,” Schulten said. “We knew our great patrons would make it a pleasant and positive experience for them, and (that they’d) enjoy the convenience of having a coffee shop right in the library.”
The grant award was used to convert a janitor’s closet into a work room complete with sinks, a refrigerator and storage shelving. A brew station, service counter and customer seating fill the large upstairs gallery.
The project was nurtured by the CM201U Business Education Partnership and its director Mardie Tuttle, who brought in the expertise of a local coffee shop Madd Capps! to help with set-up and training.
Coffee Connection is open from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays to Thursdays, except when the students are off. Coffee, tea and other beverages and snacks are available.
Provided to the SouthtownStar