Preschool Story Hour on Wednesday, Aug. 1. at 10:30 a.m.
Thank you to those who have assisted in our moving preparations in the past week. We continue to need help so, if you can, call 765-8162 and let us know what day or days you could come in this week.
It's exciting to see that we are moving to the day when the expansion is finished and we can move in. We have made every effort to remain open during construction and that is an accomplishment that warrants praise to the Library Board for their sensitivity and commitment to staying open, to our construction managers, Jim Grant and Gerry Brewer, for patience and planning to keep progress actively moving and yet being efficient, to staff for their good-will and dedication in making the adjustments so needed in terms of noise, change of routine and short-notice accommodations.
I have heard so many comments of satisfaction and praise from residents and users that it's been worth every step. The number of people using the library was up 11 percent last month and usage has been consistently up during the phase of construction. In our planning we anticipated that usage would be down but that has not been the case. Of course, we are excited that the library is being used. We recognize also that there are those in the community who have no or little contact with the library and often don't realize what transpires within this space so help us share the story and details.
When we move into the expansion, be aware that this is step one of our completed project. Not everything will be as we'd like it to be and some temporary relocation of areas may be done during August to November. We will, of course, have parking available on the expansion side with entrance from School Street. Some technology options and parts of the collection that need the entire building will come on board around Thanksgiving. To do some details in two phases doesn't make sense particularly when it's just for a few months.
In addition to opening the expansion, the current library facility will close for hurricane and code updates and the library will use the Friends of the Library's bookstore for displaying, storing and checking out titles in parts of the collection.
The Library Commons on the upper floor of the expansion will open. The bookstore will be open. Also, the Community Room will gradually schedule activities. We have left August largely unscheduled because it is uncertain to the exact day when the move into the expansion will be completed. We cannot move many items until the Certificate of Occupancy is in place.
The Library Board had their regular meeting during the week. I don't need to share many details in that regard because the newspapers will likely share highlights. While some in the community are aware, some are not: the Library Board members work hard, really look out for and evaluate both library services and resources, and try to stretch the dollar, all as volunteers receiving no salary or stipend.
When one looks at the construction project almost completed, it becomes evident that this has not happened without many years of preparation, saving and being in the forefront of excellence. So many in the community have commented, shared ideas and made recommendations through the years that the Board feels a sense of solidarity in a shared vision. In recent years the economic environment has contributed to a few in the community feeling anxious and uncertain about the future and wanting to hold back. The Library Board did such careful planning that the long-term vision was both feasible and practical. The building project is almost completed. Now comes the opportunity to expand service and enable the long-term vision to be available for all. The fact that the Library Board has the strength and vision to continue forward is a plus for our community.
The next few months are going to be a challenging time for staff. During the renovation, there is little work room. Administrative functions will work out of one of the quiet rooms, cataloguing and processing out of a second quiet room, and the literacy room will be used for miscellaneous functions. Staff is adjusting just as you will be. Together we'll make a great team!
Author Ray Bradbury died last month at the age of 91. Famed author of "Fahrenheit 451" (863 BRA) and many fiction titles such as "Death Is A Lonely Business" and "Let's All Kill Constance" (M BRA) actually wrote "Fahrenheit 451" in the basement of a library to show his great love for books and libraries. Even as late as 2009 he talked about libraries raising him..."I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money...I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years."
When we are closed, a recorder gives the hours of operation, either on 765-8162, or on 765-8163. Stop by on Monday and Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.; on Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from 9 to 5; and on Saturday between 9-1. We look forward to seeing you.