Friday, March 26, 1999
Library officials plan for April 7 Town Meeting
Last Wednesday, while many were "raising a glass to the joys that are past" (the old Irish toast), the Gleason Library building subcommittee was presenting their plans for what they hope will be the library's future. To a sparse but supportive audience in Town Hall, building committee chair Sally Swift saw the evening as a dress rehearsal for the April 7 Special Town Meeting when the library's expansion and renovation plans will be the only item on the agenda. The deadline for bids on the estimated $2.7 million project are due on March 26.
Swift said she hoped in Wednesday night's presentation to target questions people might raise at Town Meeting and have answers ready.
One audience member raised the issue of the new children's room, located on the second floor. The reason for this location, Swift explained, was that the committee wanted the high-traffic adult area on the easily accessible first floor. "Kids have more energy," she laughed, "to make the flight of stairs." Also, the high windows of the second floor, combined with architectural plans that include window seats and cozy nooks, would make the second floor a beautiful, well-lit space for the children. Increased floor space would allow for lower stacks so kids could reach all of the books, unlike the present configurationwhere some shelves are at an adult height.
Another issue that arose was the availability of the third floor for public use as a meeting space. As of now, it is intended for a quiet study space when not in use as a function room. Depending on demand, plans are to make it available for groups, but a policy needs to be developed that ensures the library has first priority for use, and establishes other guidelines. The space is limited to a 50-person capacity. Library director Ellen Rauch emphasized one of the advantages of the new library planits flexibilityobserving that the staff "would learn, as the public uses the space, what the public wants. If demand for public meeting space is high, or demand for quiet study is high, it will be used as such."
Town Meeting attendance
The main concern for the library committee on March 17 seemed to have nothing to do with the presentation which was the fruition of years of planning the renovation. Instead, it was a question of whether they would have a good turnout at the Town Meeting to hear them present their case.
Swift underscored the importance of accepting the $919,388 grant from the state for the building project, feeling sure that the town would not get another chance for a grant "in the lifetime memory of this grant committee." The waiting list for towns needing library funding is long, she reminded her trial audience, and prices for construction, additional building code regulations, such as handicapped accessibility, are changing even as the former codes are being locked into this budget. In short, prices will only go up on a project like this,Swift stated. She hoped that the town would see what they have in this grant, and what they have to lose if they don't accept it. With a tired smile, she entreated the community to first just be there. Said Swift, "I just hope we have a quorum."
If the building project is approved at the April 7 Special Town Meeting and April 13 town election, the committee's proposed building schedule is as follows:
Close Gleason Building - April 17
Open at Carlisle Institute - May 10
Begin construction - May 12
Complete construction -March 31, 2000
Close temporary location - April, 2000
Open new facility - May 1, 2000
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito