Gloversville Public Library grand reopening is Sunday

Library grand reopening is Sunday

GLOVERSVILLE — Residents from near and far are expected to turn up at the Gloversville Public Library on Sunday when the Grand Reopening Celebration will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. featuring guest speakers, time to tour the newly renovated building and refreshments.

The Gloversville Public Library at 58 E. Fulton St. reopened on Monday following a temporary 18-month closure while the building, constructed in 1904 under Andrew Carnegie’s library program, underwent a massive $8 million renovation project. During that time, the library temporarily relocated to the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth building.

The interior of the library has been completely overhauled with the creation of new spaces throughout the entire four-floor building and new infrastructure introduced — including a four-stop, 90 degree elevator with doors facing the southern and western sides of the building — to bring the historic structure into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The library resumed full service this week during normal business hours from Monday through today, giving patrons and staff an opportunity to reacclimate to the building ahead of Sunday’s celebration.

“Everything is the same and different and I’ve been giving a lot of informal walkthroughs,” Capital Campaign Co-Chair and library trustee Elizabeth Batchelor said on Thursday.

Capital Campaign Co-Chair and Board of Trustees President Christine Pesses said she and Batchelor have been taking turns standing by in the library to show patrons around and give library staff a hand unpacking items that are not essential to library service that are still in boxes.

“I just like being here and I like sitting here and welcoming people into the building,” Pesses said.

“We can’t stay away,” Batchelor said.

Batchelor and Pesses said that longtime patrons who are returning to the library for the first time since the reopening of the building are surprised when they walk in to see that virtually everything is in a new location following the renovation work.

“It is different in a very good way,” Pesses said.

Community members are invited to visit the library on Sunday afternoon to explore the library on a day when it is normally closed following a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 p.m.

Library Director Barbara Madonna will welcome community members on Sunday while speaking briefly about the history of the building, highlighting key architectural features that have been maintained during the renovation project, discussing the many modern technological upgrades that have been introduced and thanking the community for their support.

Madonna will then turn things over to Sen. James Tedisco who will present a citation honoring the Gloversville Public Library before the ribbon is cut and visitors are welcomed inside where members of the Board of Trustees, the Friends of the Library, the steering committee and other volunteers will be stationed throughout the building to help guide and inform those in attendance.

“We will have ambassadors posted throughout the building in different places to explain what’s there, what used to be there and what it will be used for,” Pesses explained.

After guests have a chance to explore the building and enjoy the refreshments from the Union Hall Inn Restaurant, Pesses and Batchelor will speak briefly at 2:30 p.m. about the capital campaign, how the renovations came to fruition and thank those who participated in bringing the project about.

The pair will then welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo, who grew up in the city and served as the honorary library capital campaign co-chair.

“He is the most wonderful, generous, funniest person ever and he’s done so much for the campaign,” Batchelor said. “I think there will be an awful lot of people at the opening to hear him.”

Batchelor said she is expecting a big turnout on Sunday and has heard from a number of people who plan to travel to the city for the library’s grand reopening.

“It’s amazing what people feel about the importance of this building and this institution and this whole success story, it’s a really uplifting thing,” Batchelor said. “I have yet to have anybody come into the library that didn’t just drop their jaws and smile and that’s what I want, for everybody to smile.”

Both Batchelor and Pesses are hopeful that area residents will attend Sunday’s opening and participate in the full schedule of events for children and adults that will be hosted throughout the building next week beginning on Monday to highlight new spaces including concerts, presentations, craft projects and more.

“My hopes are that every single person in the community comes into the building and shares and enjoys what has been accomplished by the community, by all the volunteers and by everybody,” Pesses said. “We’re prepared for a lot and we hope a lot come.”

The Gloversville Public Library’s Grand Reopening Celebration will be held on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. with speakers and special guests. The event is free and open to the public. Regular library services will not be available on Sunday.

Parking spaces in the library parking lot on Sunday will be reserved for handicap drivers until after the ribbon cutting ceremony to accommodate area residents. The lot will be reopened to the public at 1:30 p.m.

Visitors to the library are reminded that the library parking lot has a new traffic pattern allowing entrance only from East Fulton Street and exit only onto Fulmont Street to improve safety and reduce congestion.

Additional information about the Gloversville Public Library and a full schedule of upcoming events can be viewed online at gloversvillelibrary.org.

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