On the move
Library packing up for temporary home
GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Public Library will close its doors at 4 p.m. today and begin a new chapter in its history.
For the next 14 to 24 months, the library’s historic Carnegie-funded building at 58 E. Fulton St. will be closed for a total overhaul.
During that time, the library will be temporarily housed in a space at the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth at 34 W. Fulton St. The library will officially open there on April 24.
Library Director Barbara Madonna said there is a high level of energy currently from the staff and volunteers as they get ready for the move.
“This whole week has felt like a kid at Christmas. There is this big event that you have been anticipating and the level of excitement leading up to it,” she said. “If I take a deep breath and think about it, I’ll cry, because it’s the last time we’ll do this, it’s the last time we’re going to do that.”
Staff members were busy working on removing some decorations and alerting patrons to the changes on Friday.
This will be the first major renovation project at the library since its opening in the early 1900s.
During the two weeks the library is closed, there will be a bright-yellow book drop at the end of the parking lot at the current location if people want to return things.
Madonna said there will be one staff day to tidy things up and the moving company will arrive Tuesday.
The movers will unload the books onto movable racks. The shelves will then be disassembled before being reset up and filled at the CRG space. She said the furniture will be moved as well and that portion of the move is expected to take about a week.
Madonna said they decided to go forward with an outside moving company after consulting other libraries who had positive experiences by hiring a company that specializes in moving libraries.
Another week will be spent finalizing and getting the new space ready before the opening.
Madonna said there will be an open house at the temporary space May 13. She said the event will feature face painting activities. A scavenger hunt is also planned to help people get familiar with the new space.
During the library’s closure, the Johnstown, Amsterdam and Northville libraries will be available to assist patrons. In addition, e-books and e-audiobooks will still be available through the Overdrive system, along with emagazines through Zinio.
Madonna said the library had looked at the former Ohm Laboratory building prior to the CRG purchasing the property. She said she found the building would be a perfect fit for the library’s nonpermanent home.
“We’re grateful for the partnership with the CRG,” Madonna said.
She said this should be beneficial for both parties, since the library will bring in people who may not have stopped at the CRG before.
“I think we’re going to bring awareness to where the CRG is located, so more people will stop in and talk to them,” she said.
She said the meeting rooms at the short-term site will be small so some activities such as the planetarium won’t be able to be held.
During the time away from home, the children’s story hour will be moving around to different parts of the city, since there won’t be a big enough space. She said readings will likely happen at places such as the fire department, Mohawk Harvest and post office.
Planning for this renovation started eight years ago. The fact the start is just around the corner is something that doesn’t feel real yet for Madonna.
“It’s kind of like going on vacation. You plan and save up the money and buy your tickets, but even when you’re in the terminal waiting for the plane, it’s still not quite real,” she said. “I don’t think it will be real until I see construction in here working. That will make it real.”
It is hoped that construction at the site can begin in mid-May.
The library is out to bid for the project currently with bids due in April 24. The state will need to review and approve the plans, since the project has been awarded state grants.
“It really depends on how the state review goes,” she said.
Madonna said the estimated cost of the project is not yet finalized. She said an estimate was done by the construction manager about a year ago, but not everything that is in the current plans was there at the time. In addition, an expected increase in the minimum wage and the state of the school construction seasons will impact how much the project will cost.
“We would not be moving forward if we were not confident that we could do it,” she said.
During the lead up to the construction, the library ran a successful Capital Campaign that has raised more than $8 million, including $4.8 million in grants. A $1.1 million state Consolidated Funding Application grant awarded in December was the first awarded to a library.
She said money has also come in from generous donors who were local and those who have left the city, but still want to support their hometown library.
“Every expert we talked to never thought we would raise this kind of money,” she said. “We were very fortunate to have a supportive community.”
The first two things to be tackled in the construction will be working with National Grid to get a transformer installed for the elevator and asbestos abatement in the basement, related to the heating system. The first visible thing the public will see is the removal of the current handicapped entrance. A new one will be installed during construction.
“I’m told that, typically, the first month is everyone getting their ducks in a row and getting submittals in. It’s a lot of paperwork for them,” she said.
Changes at the library will include an expanded children’s library in the basement, new meeting rooms, additional niches for reading, installation of air conditioning and new handicapped accessibility, including an elevator.
Madonna said having people see the changes being made at the current space will help reinforce the revitalization efforts that are ongoing in downtown.
Madonna said the public campaign that was previous focused on fundraising will shift as the construction begins to keeping the public up to date on the progress of the changes.
“We are going to try and keep the public more informed about the construction on the project,” Madonna said.
She said she is excited to be able to have larger meeting rooms and more accessible space.
“It will be great to offer the community a variety of spaces for programs and classes and workshop the library offers as well as offering that space to other community organizations to offer their own programs,” she said.
Having an elevator, stroller parking and a larger dedicated children’s area and teen room may lead to more families coming to the library, Madonna said.
The staff will be working on ideas for what programming can be offered upon the move back to the library.
Madonna said she is thankful for the support the staff, the volunteers and the community for all the support that they’ve given over the years to make this project happen.
“We’re doing this for the community, hopefully in response to the needs of the community, and it can’t be done in a vacuum. It takes a village and we have a terrific village,” she said.
Kerry Minor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.