Waterville library nears finish of $910,000 renovation with eye towards reopening this yr

WATERVILLE — The Waterville Public Library is within the ultimate stretch of a two-year, $910,000 renovation undertaking that has resulted within the constructing being closed to the general public whereas sustaining to-go providers for lending books and different supplies.

Whereas the library closed in March two years in the past as a result of coronavirus pandemic, it continues to be closed largely because of questions of safety associated to ongoing building and the necessity to rent a handful of part-time staffers for open positions. In regular instances, the library sees 200 to 500 patrons a day.

“We’d like extra our bodies to be safely open,” library Director Tammy Rabideau stated Thursday.

She stated the final couple of years have been difficult with the continued building and varied disruptions, together with problem discovering certified contractors, supplies, provides and labor. She stated patrons and employees are anxious for the library doorways to open, and that’s the aim in 2022.

“I completely hope we’ll reopen this yr,” she stated.

Staff to date have repaired roof leaks and drainage issues, insulated the attic, changed window panes and stabilized window areas the place there was rot, refinished inside and exterior window wooden, changed flooring and radiators, constructed bookshelves, painted partitions and accomplished different work.

Kids’s room partitions have been changed and an enormous woodwork restoration undertaking undertaken all through the constructing. The work was carried out when the constructing was closed due to the pandemic, however even when the pandemic had not occurred, the closure would have been needed, in keeping with Rabideau.

“It needed to be carried out for well being and security, both for individuals or the constructing,” she stated of renovation work.

Jonathan Slack with the woodwork that he and his crew restored on the Waterville Public Library in downtown Waterville. Slack talked Thursday in regards to the job whereas strolling by way of the library. He stated he restored and matched 15 miles of wainscoting throughout the undertaking. Wealthy Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

A few of the work in progress contains removing of the entry ramp on the Elm Road facet of the constructing and creation of stairs there, the alternative of a failing door on the decrease degree Elm Road facet which is used as an emergency exit from the youngsters’s room, the alternative of youngsters’s room flooring and the reinstallation of collections and different objects displaced by building initiatives, Rabideau stated.

The restored woodwork within the library is beautiful as one walks by way of the door. Throughout a tour of the constructing Thursday, Rabideau and Jonathan Slack, proprietor of J.S. Industrial Arts, pointed to massive birch archways between rooms, mahogany window sashes and birch trim, door casings, decorative buttresses and wainscoting, all restored to disclose the wooden grain.

Slack and his crew additionally constructed e-book instances to match present ones. Within the studying room overlooking the Concourse on the fourth ground, the previous e-book instances have been eliminated, revealing the unique wooden wainscoting, and Slack constructed new ones utilizing aged birch.

“We invented bookcases that would seem unique to the woodwork itself,” he stated.

All the pieces within the library, devoted in 1905, was flawlessly constructed, in keeping with Slack.

“The way in which that they constructed this 100 years in the past is simply admirable,” he stated.

The library work has been a labor of affection for Rabideau, who began working in a part-time, non permanent place in 2010 as director of the library’s enterprise, profession and creativity middle, and have become director in 2018 when former director Sarah Sugden left. Throughout Thursday’s tour, Rabideau pointed to the brand new, curry-colored carpet, in addition to partitions freshly painted in Navaho white by P&M Portray of Pittsfield.

“I consider this constructing as a palace for the individuals,” she stated. “It has parts which are onerous to return by in fashionable society, and it’s for the individuals.”

Newly restored woodwork, home windows and cabinets encompass Pat Burdick, left, and Yan Xuan on Thursday as they accomplished archiving work within the massive print room of the Waterville Public Library. Xuan is a scholar at Colby School whereas Burdick is on a sabbatical as the school’s director of particular collections. Wealthy Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Metropolis Supervisor Steve Daly on Thursday praised the renovation.

“I feel the work that they’ve carried out on the library is a rebirth of the constructing they usually introduced it into the twenty first century,” he stated. “I feel the craftsmanship and workmanship is improbable, and Tammy’s imaginative and prescient for what the library may be is coming to life, and it’s fantastic.”

Within the library’s hearth room on the principle ground, the place tall restored home windows overlook Elm Road, Rabideau famous that the previous off-white paint was faraway from the hearth to disclose its unique brick.

Within the studying room, Pat Burdick, director of particular collections at Colby School, and Colby scholar Yan Xuan have been volunteering to arrange the library’s archives, which have been in storage for a few years. Burdick stated Waterville residents within the late 1800s launched a library building effort, which in the end obtained funding from industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

“The entire story in itself is superb as a result of the Waterville Free Public Library was established in 1896 and by the early 1900s individuals wished a constructing — they wished a spot to collect,” Burdick stated. “Individuals began to write down to Andrew Carnegie. Town obtained behind it and got here up with the required funding and the Waterville Public Library Affiliation fashioned and the constructing was accomplished in 1905.”

Within the youngsters’s room on the bottom ground, youngsters’s librarian Liz Davis talked about how applications throughout the pandemic have included story walks and to-go craft kits with meeting directions provided by way of Fb.

The library, with a price range this yr of $840,769, is funded by town, 90%, and thru fundraising, 10%. The Metropolis Council permitted a bond for the renovations.

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