By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury won’t have to wait much longer for the highly anticipated, newly reconstructed public library, according to Director Ellen Dolan.
“As of [June 7], we are in a very good place,” she said. “Construction is virtually complete and what remains are the final cleaning, landscaping and punch list.”
Once these are completed, then the process of the move begins. Furniture, equipment, shelving and computer desks will arrive by the end of July. Dolan will oversee the install of technology, which includes computers (patron and staff), arranged and hooked up to a robust Internet network, in mid-July. Then, the automated checkout stations, radio frequency identification (RFID) systems as well as security gates will be installed with the goal of completion by the first week in August. The overall project continues to be ahead of schedule, under budget and with a very healthy contingency fund which will go back to the town.
Substantial construction of the library is complete at 99 percent. Ownership will be turned over to the town when elements of construction meet the needs of the contractor for their bonding and future ratings, which should be in a few weeks when landscaping and punch list items are finished. Until then, the contractor will continue to carry the insurance and security on the building so it works out nicely for both parties, according to Dolan.
The temporary Lake Street Library will close Saturday, Aug. 13, for the actual move to the new facility. The move is slated to take up to three weeks. At this time, if things go according to plan, Tuesday, Sept. 6, is the target date for the soft opening for the public and a grand re-opening/dedication is tentatively slated for Wednesday, Sept. 21, which coincides with the week of the Spirit of Shrewsbury. Actual dates will be finalized once a moving contract has been signed.
The capital campaign for the private funding portion of the project is doing very well. Dolan
said she is very appreciative of the efforts of the campaign team which includes town residents Matt Hogan, Mary Casey, Laurie Hogan and Maribeth Lynch. They are about $20,000 away from reaching their goal of $1,750,000. Dolan added that she is confident that it will be reached by the soft opening.
Dolan noted that the new building will be more user-friendly for both patrons and staff. The primary design of the building will provide good sight lines, meaning it can be more easily managed. With its new signage, strategically located service desks and straightforward layout, the public will be able to orient themselves with ease. New automated self-checkout stations throughout the library will also add convenience for the patrons.
The reconstruction has been seamlessly integrated into the original 1903 building and will offer more community-oriented spaces. The library will feature accommodations for meetings and programs, including a designated teen area, rooms for study groups, more meeting spaces, a dedicated children’s programming room, designated work and study spaces, places for socialization, and places to read in areas with sunny windows and beautiful and comfortable furnishings.
“As successful as the fundraising is, people are still making donations and we are really grateful for that,” Dolan said. “Any donation that is collected beyond the need for the building project will go toward an endowment to help the library in the future weather difficult economic times and to help development special programs and services. The Library Foundation, which is the nonprofit group that hold the funds for the building project, will release the private funds to the town and then manage the ongoing endowment with its long-term vision of sustaining the library with more private funding, recognizing that it takes more to run a library than tax dollars. The foundation welcomes support of the endowment to keep and enhance the great services the library provides for the community.”
For more information and to make a donation, visit https://shrewsburyma.gov/344/Library.