Library's Expansion  | Newspaper Articles

Summer reading on hold

Marisa Donelan Sentinel & Enterprise April 5, 2007

LEOMINSTER -- Public Library Director Susan T. Shelton is preparing for a move from the temporary library at Crossroads Office Park to a newly expanded building on West Street.

But in order to make the move, the city will be without library services for more than a month and a half, starting April 16, Shelton said.

"We'll be opening in the early part of June (at the new building)," she said Wednesday. "There's a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in the meantime."

Patrons have visited the temporary library at Crossroads for two years during the $12 million renovation and expansion at the West Street location.

Shelton said the closure is necessary to move the library's collection from its temporary location and a storage facility, organize it in the new building and train the staff in the West Street location.

Library employees need time to accept furniture deliveries, take inventory of the stored materials, and set up new phone and computer systems, she said.

"Everything is going to be new to us," she said.

Items checked out of the library before the temporary location closes will not be due until the new library opens, and patrons can check out up to 50 items on their library card, Shelton said.

The book drop at Crossroads will be open until April 30, and book drops at the new library -- near the West Street delivery driveway and at the Pearl Street entrance -- are scheduled to open April 16.

Shelton said Leominster teachers and students have been notified about the closure and given other locations where their library cards are accepted -- most libraries in Central and Western Massachusetts use the same system, she said.

Patrons are also receiving notices when they check items out, she said.

Library employees will have to clear out of the Crossroads building by the end of the month because their lease is up then, Shelton said.

The lease, including all utilities and maintenance costs, cost $8,062 per month in the first 18 months, Shelton said.

It then increased to $10,047 per month in the 19th and 20th months, and again to $12,797 per month in the 21st through 24th months.

Leominster resident Marie Mueller said she goes to the temporary library with her daughter, Katrina, 3, at least once a week.

"Basically, we've pretty much maxed out our library card," she said while combing through the children's section at Crossroads Wednesday.

Mueller said she's happy to go to other libraries while Leominster's is closed, because she is looking forward to the new location having its full collection available.

"We're very excited, because there are so many books in storage that will be out there, and it's closer to our house, so we can walk there," she said.

Carol Iacaboni of Leominster said she is a frequent library patron, but is willing to wait out the closure for the new building.

"I'm anxious to see it," she said. "They have to make the move, and it's a big move. They can't do it overnight. I think it's going to be worth the wait."

Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella said when new libraries in Lancaster and Lunenburg were being built, patrons from those towns came to Leominster. He expects Leominster residents will use other local libraries while the move is happening.

"It is going to be more inconvenient than anything," he said.

Last fall, the library's costs came under fire as City Councilors debated approving a $1.3 million loan to cover cost overruns.

The council ultimately approved the loan.

Councilor-at-large Dennis Rosa said the temporary library closure will probably interrupt some peoples' routines, but thinks most people are excited about the new building.

"I think it's going to be a big inconvenience, especially for the regular people who use the library," he said. "But I think they're going to be understanding, especially with what they're going to have in the future."

A library fundraising committee has worked to raise $1.2 million in a separate push to buy furnishings for the new building.

Shelton said they have raised approximately $1.1 million, adding that an auction last month "far exceeded" the committee's goal of raising $25,000 to $30,000 in one night.

The final amount from the auction has not been tallied yet, Shelton said.



Project Overview
Plans and Drawings
Temporary Library

Construction Blog

Building Committee
Newspaper Articles