Library will be well worth the wait
By Jim Poole
Perhaps overly optimistic, officials of The Community Library believed in the summer that their newly renovated building would reopen in December.
They’ve pushed that date back to early February but believe the wait will be well worth it.
Librarian Christine Dickerson and board members recently opened the library to tours, and those who recalled the dark, old school were pleasantly surprised.
“We’ve had a lot of good response from people who have been through it,” said Board of Trustees President Janet Sand. “We’re so excited!”
Shelving and new furniture should be installed the week of January 14, Ms. Sand said, and the week of the 21st, movers will bring the books from the temporary library at the former car dealership on Barnerville Road.
Ms. Dickerson expects the library to reopen several weeks later, though she hasn’t set an exact date.
And she believes the public will love it.
Bright new lighting and restoration that maintains the 1884 building’s character are striking additions. But the biggest change is that the library is now on two floors––three, counting the basement––instead of one.
There’s also a large, railed opening on the second floor that not only adds a feeling of space but also allows staff to maintain noise levels on both floors.
The main floor will house junior and adult non-fiction, along with computers for internet use. The Pine Room has become the children’s room, and the Charlotte Becker room––the former Town of Cobleskill office––will have periodicals, videos, DVDs and CDs.
Much of the second floor has been opened for teen and adult fiction. There’s also a teen area and a community meeting room, and the town historian’s former storage room is now the Dumont Local History Room, which has computers for research and genealogy.
The second floor also has a study/technology room with computers.
“The study room and the local history room––those are two plums we didn’t have before,” Ms. Dickerson said.
The total number of computers spread through the library has doubled from 11 to 22, with room for 11 more.
Down two floors, the basement has been waterproofed and will serve as a program area for large groups.
The library now has bathrooms on all three floors and an elevator connecting the three levels. It’s entirely handicapped-accessible, Ms. Sand said.
Though the building is completely renovated––Ms. Dickerson calls it “a truly new building”––she’s most pleased with the historic look.
“I keep coming back to the word elegant, and that’s really what it is,” Ms. Dickerson said. “I think it’s something the community will be proud of.”
She and Ms. Sand credit the cooperative effort of the architect, contractors and board members for getting the renovation this close to completion.
“It was teamwork,” Ms. Dickerson said. “Trustees, volunteers, support from the community. . .Everyone wanted to see this happen, and indeed it did.
“We’re thrilled. I think we astounded ourselves that we pulled this off. You don’t do this kind of thing very often.”
Board members and others believe the renovation––planned for years––was long overdue. Ms. Sand agreed, adding that the project should put the library in fine shape for decades.
“Nothing had really been done for 70 years,” Ms. Sand said. “We feel now that this will last another 70.”