Gloversville library reopens in CRG building

Joseph Nolan and Cassandra Donofrio check out the children’s video section at the Gloversville Public Library’s temporary location in the Center for Regional Growth building, 34 W. Fulton St., on Monday. The library is expected to be housed there for up to two years. Photo by Kerry Minor The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE — Roughly two weeks after closing their permanent home, the staff of the Gloversville Public Library have set up a temporary home as they await a major construction project.

On Monday, the library reopened at its interim home at the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth at 34 W. Fulton St. A steady flow of patrons made their way into the facility within the first hour, checking out books, web surfing on the computers and seeing the space that will be the library’s home for possibly two years.

Library Director Barbara Madonna said she was encouraged to see patrons coming in and browsing the collection already.

“I think the staff is still settling in. As we start serving everybody, we’ll be tweaking things,” she said.

Madonna said the CRG and its President and CEO Ronald Peters has been a wonderful partner throughout the process. Madonna said the library negotiated with CRG since the spring of 2016 to move into the space, with the lease agreement coming in November. The space did need some work to prepare it for the opening. New wiring and carpeting were installed in the lead up to the move.

Children’s Librarian Sally Fancher said the team worked hard to make the move happen. She said library staff was there early measuring to ensure furniture and shelves would fit.

“Two weeks ago today, this space was bare and empty,” she said.

The more than 100-year-old Andrew Carneige-funded library will undergo a total overhaul in the next 14 to 24 months.

Changes will include new meeting rooms, additional niches for reading, installation of air conditioning and new handicapped accessibility, including an elevator.

Even with all of the changes, the historic aspects — with the exception of the boiler and radiators — will be staying. This includes the distinctive grand staircases.

New spaces and accommodations are being made for families as well. The basement will be transformed into a children and teen space. Stroller parking will also be added to help parents who are visiting.

Fancher said that while the short-term space may be smaller than the library’s permanent home, the children’s space is a bit bigger at the CRG building.

The space features a variety of tables, some shaped like the children’s literary classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Crayons, stuffed animals and a play space are all included in that section.

The new space features a reading room at the front of the building with plush chairs and reading tables with newspapers, magazines and large-print books.

“By and large, I’m very happy with the renovation that was done here and how smoothly the move itself went,” Madonna said. “The staff and the volunteers did a stellar job of stepping up and doing everything that needed to be done.”

The fiction section takes up the center of the space, which also houses the computers, new release and checkout table.

“By and large, we have been able to fit all the books and services in here,” Madonna said. “Our programming space is limited. We just don’t have the same size square footage we had. We were not able to make the local history collection available.”

Fancher said all of the nonfiction is housed in one section, instead of being split up.

The building features two entrances, one on the front that is handicap accessible and a rear entrance off the parking lot on North Arlington Avenue. The book drop box is in the parking lot.

The space features two meeting spaces, a large one and a smaller one.

Fancher said the programming space has been cut, but said the library will still work to ensure programs continue.

Library Board of Trustees Member Elizabeth Batchelor said the more than 100-year-old grandfather clock that has been at the library since it opened, has been moved as well.

She said the clock first had to be taken apart by an expert, moved in pieces and then reassembled, since it was not recommended it be moved whole.

Batchelor had nothing but praise for the staff and the moving company, saying they all worked very hard to pull off the move.

“The staff was extraordinary,” Batchelor said.

Also on Monday, the library held bid openings for the construction project. More than 15 bids came in for the four total categories: general contracting, plumbing, fire safety and electrical and mechanical.

Madonna said that the architect will go through all of the bid-offer packets in detail to ensure the proper items are included such as insurance.

“We need to make sure the numbers they included everything that was in the bid specification book,” she said.

She said some of the contracts will need to go to the state Historic Preservation Office, since the library has grants with them. Once the grant agency gives its approval, the board can generate a letter of intent, which will generate the contracts to be signed.

Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected]

By Chad Fleck

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