Library bridging the past with the future

Fort Plain Library offering tribute paving stones to public

Shown is a conceptualization of the Fort Plain Free Library’s new main entryway with its 340 paving stones. Individuals interested in creating lasting tributes to their families, businesses, or organizations can pay to have a stone engraved with their message. Money raised through the fundraiser supports the library’s ongoing construction project. (Photo submitted)

FORT PLAIN — The Fort Plain Free Library is building on the past and paving the way to the future, and area natives and others with ties to the community can be memorialized while contributing to that mission.

As work progresses on the multi-pronged construction project there, library officials and staff are looking forward to the late-fall or early-winter unveiling of a new handicapped-accessible main entrance. The new entryway will consist of 340 paving stones. For contributions of $300, the 12-inch by 12-inch pavers can be personalized — that is, engraved with memoriams, phrases, quotes, or lasting tributes to area businesses, organizations, or individuals.

To date, 47 brick paving stones have been designated for engraving by area monument companies. Interested contributors who haven’t had a chance to reserve theirs won’t miss out, however. They can pool their resources for family or group pavers; and blank paving stones can be etched on-site after installation.

This fundraising initiative — one of the library’s many creative money-raising endeavors — launched this spring. One of the institution’s more profitable fundraisers, the project will generate money for the library’s ongoing capital project. The work is funded, in part, with a New York State Public Library Construction Grant administered by the Mohawk Valley Library System. The library is responsible for raising 25 percent of the total cost.

Library Board President Keith Seeber said upgrades to the facility include basic infrastructure improvements such as plumbing, electrical work, and Internet cabling. Those are important to the library’s ongoing mission to serve the community, he said.

He added, “The library is here to provide vital services to the community. It serves as a source of information, entertainment, and allows people to get together. We have a lot of people and organizations that use the library. It will give us an opportunity to better meet those needs going into the future.”

Seeber continued, “There are few other places in town that can give people what we can. We have the facility, the connectivity, the room for things they need. All they need to do is to ask us, and we’re there.”

The library, organized in 1885, was flooded twice in the last dozen years. Work has included the installation of an upper-story, building-wide heating/cooling system to mitigate against future flooding issues. The multi-year enterprise has also included work to stabilize the 1835 Greek Revival structure that served as the library’s first “real” home; to replace or make needed improvements to its subsequent additions; and to upgrade the library’s Internet capabilities, computer stations, and the like.

Call the 19 Willett Street library at (518) 993-4646 for more information, to contribute toward a commemorative paver, or to suggest other fundraising projects. Follow the Fort Plain Free Library on Facebook.