AVON – Avon Free Library will soon begin fundraising and putting about $250,000 in grants to work propelling the building into its next century.
A $127,000 construction grant through Pioneer Library System and $100,000 secured by Senator Patrick Gallivan are welcome help towards the project’s $317,000 total. It will take $40,000 from the Library Board and the generosity of the community to realize several permanent updates like cutting-edge technology for public presentations and security plus an enlarged program room in the library’s lower levels.
“Through observation, interactions and conversations it became clear that we are currently not able to offer enough quiet, private safe places to meet and study,” said the library in a project impact statement to the Village and Town of Avon at their joint meeting on March 6. “Additionally, our current meeting and children’s rooms are insufficient and inflexible in meeting the needs of the programming that the community is asking for.”
Library Director Rebecca Budinger-Mulhearn assured both boards that the project will protect the historic style of the building’s century-old main level.
“This is an historic building and that’s something that I take seriously,” said Rebecca Budinger-Mulhearn. “As the steward of an historic building I’m a huge history buff. I’ll tell you what, I took the job when I saw the building had a dumbwaiter in my office that goes to the bottom floor. I can promise that’s not going anywhere, we use it all the time. We really didn’t want to mess with the historic nature of the upstairs.”
Most areas of the library will be temporarily closed for lower-level construction in January 2018. A temporary meeting space will be open for small community gatherings for about two months. Once main-level construction begins, the building will close completely for about two weeks.
In the lower level, the plan is to remove a wall to open up the ‘multi-purpose/study room’ and replace the corridor wall and entrance door with glass. Removing another corridor wall will create a new ‘study room.’ In the ‘children’s library,’ new electrical wiring will allow more electronics and technology, and leveling the floor will eliminate a tripping hazard.
The main level will receive a facelift and improved privacy and security. There will be a new counter, public access computers will be relocated to increase privacy, book shelves will be rearranged to improve lines of sight from the circulation desk, and the entire floor will be replaced with the interior vestibule doors. A fire alarm, CO detector and 24-hour monitoring system will be installed. All renovated areas will receive LED light fixtures and all emergency exit signs will become LED.
Budinger-Mulhearn said that the library’s vision does not stop here. She said that the library like to make the building more handicapped accessible and look into whether it is possible to expand the library’s parking lot.