By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
MARLBOROUGH – The Marlborough Public Library has completed its temporary move to the Walker Building. Now, the library has also phased out an appointment requirement for visitors seeking to enjoy library amenities.
Books now stretch across a swath of the Walker Building, filling hallways and some of the rooms. Patrons also have access to four public computers, although the library is asking that individuals limit their computer usage to 45 minutes.
“We remain committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of patrons and staff while providing essential services to our community and have arranged the spaces at the Walker Building with this in mind,” read a press release announcing the end of the appointment requirement.
The library is currently open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Seating in the library remains limited, though, even as the library continues its reopening. Newspapers are not available and meeting rooms cannot be booked by individuals or groups. The library is also not accepting donations of materials at this time. Tutors will not be able to meet with students, and the children’s area is currently not accessible for play or socializing.
This relocation comes as a major renovation project at the library’s ordinary home prepares to break ground.
Delayed by COVID-19, that work will demolish much of the existing library on West Main Street and replace it with a brand-new 16,000-square-foot addition. The iconic original portion of the structure, dating back to 1904, will remain untouched while the rest of the library gains new space for browsing and library programming.
Library staff relocated their operations and collection to the Walker Building back in April in preparation for this project.
Speaking with the Community Advocate in May, Director Margaret Cardello expressed gratitude for the space and its proximity to the main library building.
“The Walker Building was just available to us,” she said. “So, we jumped at the opportunity to be so close to the library and to have the space that we need to operate from.”
The library renovation project is currently out to bid. The deadline for individual bids is set for July 19, with construction expected to begin “in the August/September timeframe” according to an email from Cardello on July 8. The project will then take 18 months to complete once crews break ground.
In the meantime, Cardello noted, a number of community members have asked when the library will resume evening and Saturday hours that had long been utilized by individuals who could not visit during a traditional workday.
“We are working with the Mayor’s office on a plan to resume our pre-COVID hours,” she said.