Library will close today to start moving back
By ASHLEY ONYON
GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Public Library will begin a three week temporary closure today at 4 p.m. when library staff will begin moving and organizing the collection in the permanent location at 58 E. Fulton St. for the Nov. 5 reopening.
The library moved temporarily to 34 W. Fulton St. in April 2017 when a massive renovation project began in the library’s permanent location that opened in 1904, funded by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie’s library program.
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 American’s with Disabilities Act.
Construction is progressing on schedule and is slated for completion next week when a moving company will assist library staff in packing and moving the collection.
Staffers were getting a jump start on Thursday, taking down posters and end caps, printing signs and labels for boxes and prepping things that will not disrupt library service for patrons during the last few days at the library’s temporary home.
“Everybody’s working really hard to get everything prepped for Monday when we start moving,” Head of Children’s Services Sally Fancher said. “You can only imagine how it is moving everything in alphabetical order, but we’re all very excited to get in there.”
Fancher is looking forward to returning to the renovated Carnegie building where historic features have been maintained and highlighted while long-standing accessibility issues have been addressed.
“We’re very excited to be moving back to an accessible building for everyone, restrooms on every floor with functioning heat and A/C and of course the historic architecture that we’ve missed so much,” Fancher said. “It’s so much fun to work in a building that has that, just seeing it every day is a joy.”
Before the renovations library services and programs were confined to the building’s main level, but the addition of an elevator and another staircase will allow patrons and staff to fully utilize the building for reading, working, activities and events.
We have so much more space for programming and public events. We can provide a lot more activities and workshops,” Fancher said.
The library’s lower level will house a children’s area with a special activity area, a teen space, two lobby galleries and a storage area for the friends of the library.
The main level will feature a small study room, a computer room, a lobby gallery, a local history room for the library’s collection and genealogical documents and the relocated non-fiction, new fiction, research and media collections.
The upper level will include the adult fiction collection, three meeting rooms, a kitchen, a staff breakroom and the building’s restored concert room.
Library staff plan to use the new spaces for a wide range of new programs for children and adults, piloting a full week of programs to highlight the space during the second week back in the building beginning on Nov. 12.
“The public can use our space for free for clubs and activities they just have to call the library,” Fancher noted.
The building will include new lounge seating, tables and chairs for patrons to read, work or chat, something patrons got a chance to do comfortably while in the temporary space according to Library Director Barbara Madonna.
“Having seating locations in all of the rooms for patrons to spread out, read, meet and study was an unexpected benefit of its layout. I hope patrons feels the same about the renovated space,” Madonna said.
Librarian Nicole Hauser said the layout in the Carnegie building should be even more comfortable with more space for patrons to spread out.
“There will be more opportunities for quiet space,” Hauser said. “If you want to sit at a table for quiet conversation you won’t have someone sitting right next to you.”
Patrons who want to do work on devices at the library will also benefit from more outlets throughout the building, many of which Hauser said include standalone USB ports.
Until then, the staffers noted that full services will be available at the library through today and any books checked out this week will not be due back until after the library reopens on Nov. 5.
The yellow drop-box will continue to be available for book returns at 34 W. Fulton St. during the three week temporary closure and patrons can visit other Mohawk Valley Library System locations in Amsterdam, Johnstown and Northville with their Gloversville Public Library card.
Fancher, Hauser and Madonna all expressed confidence in the staff’s ability to prepare the new space in the coming weeks. Hauser noted that the library’s previous two week move into the temporary space did not include the training that staff will need to master the renovated building’s many system upgrades.
“We’re going to miss the patrons, but we’re going to need that much time,” Fancher said.
The library will reopen for full service on Nov. 5, resuming normal business hours and regular weekly programs including Drop-In Tech Help and Story Time. Patrons and staff will have a week to familiarize themselves with the updated library where everything will be in entirely new locations before the reopening celebration.
“The renovation of the library’s building has been a decade’s long journey. Coordinating the move and settling everyone back in are the last two large tasks,” Madonna said.
Once patrons and staff have had a chance to get reacclimated to the building, a grand opening celebration will be held on Nov. 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. with speakers and special guests including Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo.
“There have been some struggles and uncertainty on this path but there have also been unexpected rewards. The support and enthusiasm of the community being one,” Madonna said.