Guilderland library expansion on ballot
GUILDERLAND, Jun 07, 2012 (Times Union - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Public Library Director Barbara Nichols Randall said the building is out of space.
She started to notice the cramping around 2007, when the children's area got too small for the number of people who wanted to take part in story time, when other programs started growing waiting lists and when teen tutoring sessions had to move into adult reading rooms.
"To provide all the things that the community is asking us to provide, we really need more space," Nichols Randall said.
That's why the library is putting a $12.95 million expansion to a vote on June 26 in a building referendum. Polls will be open at all five Guilderland school district elementary schools from noon to 9 p.m.
The expansion would include another 20,000 square feet of space in a new, three-story wing. The project would encompass a larger children's room, a noise-proof teen library, space for tweens, a larger adult reading room, a local history and genealogy center and more meeting space.
"So much of our work is on computers. There's times people want to go to a place where there's other people," Nichols Randall said. "We see the need people have for the community."
But this is not the first time the library seeks to expand. Nichols Randall said a similar referendum was prepared in 2008.
Information was sent to residents in the community and plans were in place.
But then the stock market took a huge dive, and the nation's economy went into a downward spiral.
"So we stepped back," she said. "Granted, it's not the best time to do it, but we're at a point now where we're almost desperate for space."
Nichols Randall said since the library opened in 1992, attendance at programs has increased by 1,000 percent and the number of annual visits has doubled.
The library has no room for its collections to grow. In order to add more shelf space, meeting space like desks and tables would have to be taken away.
For the last two years, Nichols Randall said, items have had to be removed from the shelves to make way for new ones.
"We've already had to take away more open space than we'd like," she said.
A public meeting on the proposal begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the library's Helderberg meeting room. The board of trustees, the design architect and Nichols Randall will present details on the plan, timing and costs. The public will also have a chance to ask questions.
If the project is approved, a $200,000 homeowner would pay $55 a year for 20 years, which amounts to $1.06 a week.
More information on the project along with renderings and floor plans, can be found at www.guilpl.org/expansion.
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