This fall, construction will begin at library to replace the deteriorating entrance ramp and increase the size of the program/meeting room to meet community demand. This project is being financed by the library’s Capital Fund, as well as a matching grant of over $100,000 through the State Aid for Public Library Construction Program. The new construction will venture onto previously unused property conveyed to the library by the Town of Southeast. This is Phase 1 of a larger undertaking to double the size of the library.
The community has endorsed the library’s efforts to place a proposition on the ballot November 7th to authorize the Town of Southeast to finance a much needed larger construction project. This expansion will include a community room to accommodate up to 50 people, private study rooms, and an ADA compliant elevator and restrooms – all while respecting and retaining the historic façade of the building and the main Reading Room.
Why the change?
A primary concern of the library board is that the facility is not fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Libraries are educational institutions that should be accessible to all. In addition, library services have changed drastically since our building was constructed in 1931. For example, the library building was originally intended to house up to 10,000 books. There are currently over 26,000 items in the library, including music CDs, books on CD, DVDs and Blu-rays, periodicals, etc. Many of these items are not easily accessible due to overcrowding and shelf height.
Services have been redesigned at the community’s request to include programs for all ages that address civic and community engagement, digital learning, early childhood literacy, economic development, and job skills. Technological advances since 1931 have put the public library at the center of meeting the need for basic access to technology through broadband internet and WiFi and public computer access, something that the library’s footprint and electrical and wiring systems were never designed to handle.
The demand for meeting space has skyrocketed. Over the past several years, we have turned away many requests from the public to use our facilities for community events and meetings. The expansion will allow us to accommodate many of these requests and fulfill our role as an educational and civic center of the community.
What will the library look like when the project is completed?
The library will be double the size of the existing building. The interior will be renovated, and have updated electrical and HVAC systems; however, we will respect and retain the historic aspect of the library’s facade and the David D. Bruen Reading Room on the upper level. Click here to view the suggested floor plan for the upper level, and here for the lowel level.
What will this cost?
If the proposition is passed by the voters of the Town of Southeast in November, the Town will be authorized to obtain a bond of up to $2,938,000 to finance the project. Over the course of a 25-year bond for this amount, the cost to the average homeowner will be approximately $24 per year (or about $2 a month).
How can I find out more?
There will be two public presentations that you are encouraged to attend. The first will be at the Town of Southeast Board Meeting, at Southeast Town Hall, 1360 Route 22, on Thursday, October 5th at 7:00pm. The second will be at the Brewster Library, 79 Main Street, on Thursday, October 19th at 10:00am. The library is working with the architectural firm of Butler, Rowland and Mays, and they will be present to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, you may also contact Library Director, Gina Loprinzo by phone at (845) 279-6421 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.