The library, which officially opened in 1905, is planning a total renovation of the building.
During the renovation, the library will have a temporary home at the Fulton County CRG building on West Fulton Street.
Library Director Barbara Madonna said the CRG space needed to be brought up to code for public spaces. This included installing sprinklers, adding handicap accessible doors and updating the fire alarm system. In addition, there had to be an accessible fire door between the library space and CRG space to ensure a separation between the two areas.
Patrons will be able to enter either through the front of the CRG on West Fulton Street, which is handicap accessible, or through a back door by the parking lot off of North Arlingston Avenue.
In addition, some plumbing issues needed to be addressed, carpeting was put down over the epoxy floors and the entire space was painted.
“There were some small back rooms, two locker rooms and a couple small storage spaces, we had them take down a wall or two so we have some programming space,” Madonna said.
The cost of the renovations was shared between the library and CRG.
The CRG space will be around 6,000 to 7,000-square-feet. Madonna said the library has around 16,000-square-feet at its permanent location.
“We are doing our best to provide all of the services that we currently provide,” Madonna said.
She said the biggest impact will be on the available programing space, but the library will offer space for the public for programs and meetings. In addition, most, if not all, of the local history collection will be stored, since there won’t be space for it at the temporary location.
“Everything else we’re pretty much planning on being able to offer,” Madonna said.
The library will move most of its collection over to the new space. To do this, it will need to hire a moving company which specializes in relocating libraries.
Madonna said the library has put out an official request for proposals, with bids due back next Friday.
Madonna said the library is looking toward a spring move to the new space. She said until the library hears from the moving companies, no official date is yet in place.
She said once a date is selected, the library will begin a campaign to alert the public to the move. It will include ads in local media and notes on the bottom of library receipts.
During the move, the library will be closed for two weeks. Madonna said the first few days will see the staff doing work inside prior to the arrival of the moving company.
“They will pack everything up, move it down there and set it up there,” Madonna said. “Then we’ll have several more days on the other end of it to get settled and rearrange.”
During the library’s closure, the Johnstown, Amsterdam and Northville libraries will be available to assist patrons.
Madonna said anything that is due during the two week move period won’t be fined if it is dropped off after the new location opens.
“We won’t be charging fines for late things while we’re closed and people have a limited ability to return stuff,” she said. “We are not going to penalize them because they can’t return anything.”
The current plan would see the library stay at the CRG for 18 to 24 months.
Library renovation plans
The lowest level, which currently functions as basement storage, will house the expanded children’s library, a teen space and a children’s activity room. The main level will include all adult services. The lower level will house the local history room, new meeting rooms and more niches for reading and studying.
The plans for the upper level include a gallery space to show the library’s collections and community items. A large 30- by 40-foot space will be divided into two gathering spaces providing small, medium and large meeting rooms, according to the library’s capital campaign.
Air conditioning will be installed for the library, which will help preserve books and periodicals and allow the library to serve as a cooling station during summer heatwaves.
An elevator will be installed to allow access for patrons to every floor of the building.
Many of the unique features of the library, such as the twin spiral staircases, front staircase and heavy glass pane doors will stay. A new staircase will be installed near the planned handicap entrance.
During construction, the newly-leveled lot that lies to the east of the Fulton County Probation Office will be used to house construction equipment for the project and staging for the project.
The lot will become a staff parking area after construction is completed.
The library is also planning to change the entering and exiting of the main parking lot. The change would turn the current staff parking lot located off Fremont Street into an exit for the parking lot. Patrons would still enter the lot from East Fulton Street.
The fund the project, the library began a capital campaign in 2014 that has to date raised $8 million for the plans. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Gloversville native, Richard Russo, is the campaign chairman.
Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected]