Written by Chris Boyle, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, 15 February 2014 00:00
The Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library is in the process of a major $200,000 renovation project that is slated to provide some much-asked for new services to the community — services, according to Library Director Gretchen Browne, that the community has been requesting for quite some time now.
“We are re-purposing out Media Department to make room for more quiet study rooms, meeting rooms, and a bigger Community Services Department,” he said. “We will have a new area for all our media – CDs, DVDs, and so on – and behind that will be a medium work room, quiet and group study rooms, expanded office space for Community Services, and in the back of the area will be a big, all-purpose meeting room with a white board, desks, and chairs. The whole area will be carpeted, wired for Wi-Fi and telephones, and everything else.”
The reason for the transformation of the approximately 4,700 square foot area, Browne said, is because the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library is an important hub for social activity, education, and the arts within the community, and it is important to listen to the voices of the people that patronize it so that they may continue to thrive.
“The biggest desire from our community has been the desire for places to have quiet study, group study, and meeting and tutoring space...so, that’s what we’re giving them,” she said. “This library is very active, and the one thing we’ve lacked is a place for people to work together...now, we’ll have at least four new rooms to offer them.”
Despite the currently-gutted appearance of the area, Browne said that the new accommodations are expected to be completed within the next six to eight weeks; the target date is hoped to coincide with the library’s upcoming 50th anniversary, which is in April of this year. The anticipated speed of the construction, Browne said, is thanks to an engineering breakthrough involving extensively pre-fabricated walls.
“We’re getting something called the Genius Wall system,” she said. “It’s a semi-permanent wall that comes completely done; beautiful wood finishes, glass, door handles, conduits for wires...they’re installed on tracks, and they’ll extend from the ceiling to the floor once the new carpeting is put down. And should we decide in the future that one room is too small or too big, we’ll be able to re-install those walls to make those changes very easily, rather than tearing them down and building new ones.”
The price tag on the renovation work comes in at $200,000, which Browne was already approved by taxpayers in last year’s 2013-2014 library budget vote; however, possible funds from a state grant may reduce some of that cost.
“We have applied for Public Library Construction funds...there’s a $14 million New York State construction grant program, of which we’ve applied for the entire $200,000 that we’re spending. Hopefully, we’ll get a good percentage of that in grant funding,” she said. “The money from our construction budget that the grant frees up will go right back into our budget...it can help us to lower taxes, or pay for new equipment, computers, that type of thing.”