Library's Expansion  | Newspaper Articles

'New' library eagerly awaited - Exterior entices patrons, but inside not ready
Anna L. Griffin, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, February 12, 2007

LEOMINSTER - Appearances can be deceiving.

With the exterior work of Leominster Public Library nearly completed, people have been trying to make their way into the building; some have been successful.No trespassing signs are in place for good reason. "It's a safety issue. This is an active construction site," said library Director Susan Shelton.

"I guess people are anxious for the project to be completed," she said. "But there's still a lot of work that has to be done on the interior of the building."

Mrs. Shelton said construction work on the interior continues, and no part of the project is open.

An opening date of late spring - sometime in June - is being looked at, Mrs. Shelton said. That date is contingent upon a number of things, such as completion of the interior work and the installation of carpeting and shelving. The carpeting and shelving should each take three weeks to install.

"Then, we have to take all of the books and other materials that we placed into storage - actually three-quarters of our collection - out of storage and place them back into the new facility," Mrs. Shelton said.

Add to that time to place new furnishings, such as desks, and to train the staff to handle a new telephone system as well as time needed to familiarize the staff with the building and, "An opening is still a number of weeks away," Mrs. Shelton observed.

"But when we do open, we know the public will be very pleased with what they see," Mrs. Shelton said. "We have an amazing facility - one that everyone in the city will be proud of."

Those who can't wait can "see" some of the work that has been done by visiting the library's Web site www.leominsterlibrary.org and viewing the "new photos" section under the construction blog.

"I am as impressed with the work done on the original library as I am with the new addition," Mrs. Shelton said.

The original library is a two-story Roman brick structure with limestone trim that was built in 1910 with partial funding from Andrew Carnegie. It is part of the Monument Square Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

A 10,000-square-foot warehouse-like addition was opened in 1966.

In May 2005, the library moved to its current location at Crossroad Offices Park, 690 Mechanic St. A July groundbreaking was held that marked the official start of the project. The project will expand the library to 44,513 square feet, with 55 adjacent parking spaces.

This was achieved by renovating the 1910 building and constructing a 34,434-square-foot addition. Entrances to the building will be on both West and Pearl streets.

In addition to money from the state and local government to cover the costs of construction, the library has undertaken a private fundraising effort to pay for such things as furnishings.

The private fundraising effort, with a goal of $1.2 million, has just reached the $1 million mark. A gala auction, with both live and silent components, is scheduled to benefit this fund with all proceeds to be used for furniture, fixtures and equipment.

The 150th Anniversary Auction will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. March 24 in Tata Auditorium, City Hall, 25 West St. Tickets to the event are $25 each. In addition to the auction, there will be refreshments and a cash bar. Those who are interested in making a donation to the auction or the building fund can call the library at (978) 534-7522.



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