February 14, 2013


Library room getting makeover

Cortland Free Library enhancing children’s room in basement

LibraryJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Children’s librarian Betsy Robinson organizes books into boxes Monday prior to renovations at the Cortland Free Library.

Staff Reporter

The youth services area in the basement of the Cortland Free Library closed Saturday for renovations which are expected to continue through early June.
The renovations will include removing old heating pipes encased in asbestos, insulating the two outside walls, building walls out to cover pipes, removing the drop ceiling and refurbishing the original tin ceiling, new lighting and flooring, and repainting the metal shelves and refurbishing the wood shelves, said Director Kay Zaharis.
“We’re going to have a lot more outlets so we’ll probably have more computers,” Zaharis said.
“If we’re going to go with a lot more technology we need better electrical service,” said Georgette Ogle, a library board member, volunteer and its book mender, who was overseeing the delivery of donated pallets to store the books on Monday.
The new space will also feature comfortable seating and the bookshelves will be configured to create inviting nooks, Zaharis said.
The teen room, which previously only had shelves of books, will receive a table and chairs and comfortable seating.
“There really was no place for the teens,” Zaharis said.
A new circulation desk with a private workspace will face the door to the lower level youth section, she said.
The renovations are being funded by a state Public Library Construction Grant Program award of $156,000 in the spring of 2012 and with part of another construction grant award of $197,000 from the spring of 2011 and a matching amount of donations.
Zaharis said she did not have an exact cost for the project.
The construction grants also helped pay for the new steps and front doors at the library’s Church Street entrance, which opened Monday, and new underground wiring completed in the fall, and will be used to repair windows, refurbish the lobby and finish partially completed electrical work and safety alarms installation, Zaharis said.
One thing that will not be replaced in the basement is the pig house, a replica of the brick house the wolf could not blow down in the fairy tale “The Three Little Pigs.” The play house is popular among children at the library, said Zaharis.
“It’s been here probably 40 years,” she said.
Workers were busy boxing up books Monday in preparation for the construction to begin.
“We’re boxing up nearly 20,000 books,” Zaharis said, adding that the books will fill 800 cardboard boxes.
There are 2,253 youth patrons at the library.
Some of the children’s collection will escape confinement and will be placed upstairs for children to use while the construction is going on, as well as the youth DVDs, VHS tapes and books on CD.
Some of the new books and books that circulate a lot will be kept out, said Betsy Davison, the youth services librarian, as well as the books that are currently checked out.
The library is encouraging youths to visit the Phillips Free Library on South Main Street in Homer and Lamont Memorial Free Library on Main Street in McGraw during construction, Davison said, noting that patrons’ Finger Lakes Library System card will work in any library in the county.
Library card holders can also request inter-library loans online, she said, and the books will be delivered to the Cortland Library.
“It’s like shopping online and getting it delivered,” Davison said.
“We expect this renovation to take a maximum of four months,” said Zaharis, who noted that the goal is to open in time for the summer reading program.
All the children’s programs will continue during the construction, including popular Baby Time which meets at 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Preschool Story Time at 10:30 a.m. Thursdays.
The library is welcoming donations for the construction projects, and checks addressed to the library and labeled “renovations” on the memo line can be dropped off or mailed to 32 Church St., Cortland, N.Y. 13045, Zaharis said.


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