Starting over ten years ago the library board began looking at the problem of lack of space in our busy library. We have visited other libraries and discussed the positive and negative aspects of their buildings’ designs with their board members and directors. We have also worked with many consultants at various points in the planning.
During this process we have tried to get as much community involvement and input as possible. The two public forums held in April and September of 2009 and a feasibility study done that fall were very helpful in giving us useful ideas and an understanding of what the community wants. Informal input from patrons, friends and neighbors has also been very informative. We have also gone to the various town boards and organizations in town to discuss the project.
Why do you need a new library?
The library’s usage has grown far beyond the capacity of the present building. The present building has served its purpose very well for almost 40 years, but it is too small, and non-compliant with ADA regulations and the present building codes. We expect library usage to continue to grow and need to plan for the next 10 to 20 years. We feel additional space with updated facilities is sorely needed.
- From 2000 to 2011 our circulation increased 88%!
Why not add on to the building we have?
Our original intention was to put on an addition. Before jumping into construction we had a feasibility study done at the beginning of 2007. Some of the factors looked at were our usage, population, holdings and estimated growth needs over the next 10 -15 years. The staff and the board were also interviewed before the recommendations were made. The report recommended a building of about 7,000 square feet.
We were presented with a number of options:
1. Adding to our present building
2. Converting an older building
3. Building a new structure
When evaluating these options, we considered many factors, some of which were:
1. Proximity to theRecPark
4. Interior design – supervision, efficient layout
5. Structural requirements – books are very heavy!
6. Maintenance costs
To our surprise, the cost of renovating and adding on to the present building was about the same as a new building (Two and a half million). The present structure is sound, but would require a total “gut” job, during which we would need to rent and move the entire collection. The heating, air, electric, plumbing and septic systems would need to be totally redone. The addition would visually overwhelm the original structure. Trying to add on to the present building on our oddly shaped lot would not allow for the best design and in the end we would have an expensive building that didn’t really meet the needs of our growing library.
Why did we purchase the new property?
There were not many sites for a new library that met our requirements; until we became aware that the Country Lane Nurseries property across from the pharmacy was available. We thought the location was ideal and purchased the property on November 25, 2008.
The property has a number of positive features. It is centrally located in town, is visible and accessible from Route 82, and is located next to the Town Recreation area. A new library there would be very beneficial for the library and for the town.
Who is the architect?
After an extensive interviewing process, we hired the architectural firm of Butler, Rowland and Mays who specialize in building libraries. The library board worked with them through our Building Committee to develop a plan that balances the needs of our growing library with the costs. The new library would have 5,200 square feet on one floor along with a partial basement for the mechanical systems. It will be about twice the size of our present building, have a floor plan that is much more efficient for the functions of a modern library and offer easy access for all.
The rendering below shows the building as it faces Route 82. Parking is on the west side and in the back.
A financial feasibility study was completed in 2010. The study involved a sampling of community members who met with the consultant and answered a number of questions about how they view the library’s role in the community now and in the future. Since then the Capital Campaign Committee developed informational materials and strategies to inform the community about the project.
Presently, we are in the “silent” phase of our fund raising campaign. The committee is working on contacting foundations and “lead” donors who want to see the library thrive and continue to be an important resource for our community.