Coffee Connection marks 10 years at Crete library
June 12, 2012 12:40PM
For 10 years, Crete Public Library patrons have been able to take a break from browsing to have beverages and snacks, thanks to the library and Crete-Monee 201U’s Coffee Connection, a shop 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 in 2001 by administrative librarian Jane Schulten.
“It was a great opportunity to provide library patrons with some of the perks they were enjoying at area bookstores 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 setup and training.
“It is rewarding that this community-based effort that involved the school, the library and local businesses continues to be viable and successful, and provides such a unique opportunity for our students,” Tuttle said.
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 Post-Tribune