C.H. Booth Library Undergoes Renovations, More Anticipated This Summer

Published: June 06, 2019 at 07:00 am


Patrons of the C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street, may have noticed some remodeling has been taking place in the building over the course of the last seven months.

From November to February, the library gave a fresh coat of paint to many areas, including its new Gathering Space, located on the second floor by the main entrance (formerly known as the Genealogy Room). It also took down wallpaper of yesteryear in the Hawley Dining Room, now called the Hawley Gallery, to make it more welcoming to visitors.

“It’s brightened up the room considerably,” Douglas Lord, director of the C.H. Booth Library, said of the Hawley Gallery.

On the first floor of the library, the glass windows between the back hallway and the Children’s Department have been removed and replaced with a solid wall.

The update, which happened in February, offers more privacy for the Children’s Department, which previously kept its blinds drawn on the windows. The new wall space will allow for more artwork to be displayed and book holders to be put up for an additional browsing collection.

The previous month, the back entrance of the library had new doors installed.

“The ones that were there… were completely worn out,” Mr Lord explained. “I think we get 450 visitors a day, and most people do go through the back; so just over time, they wore out.”

While he says the new doors are “gorgeous,” he added, “They are sort of built like a tank. They’re heavy, but they are also heavy-duty.”

chbMAKERS Space

In April, the C.H. Booth Library began expanding its chbMAKERS Space, located in the Young Adult Department on the second floor. The area used for hosting hands-on workshops and drop-in activities will double in size and soon take up the rest of the back wall in that section of the library.

The expansion will allow for all the equipment in storage to have a designated space and be more accessible for the public to enjoy.

As of now, there are no new items planned to be purchased for the area, but Mr Lord said, “We are looking to grow the equipment that is available as we get feedback from the community.”

“We’ve listened to the feedback from patrons and are happy to respond to our users’ needs. The makerspace is a fantastic asset for the community, and we want to make it the best it can possibly be,” said Amy Dent, President of the Board of Trustees of the C.H. Booth Library.

According to a press release from the C.H. Booth Library, “chbMAKERS was funded in part with a grant from the State of Connecticut and by the generosity of many donors from the community.”

Equipment, such as the 3D printers, will be able to be used again when the chbMAKERS Space is reopened. Mr Lord anticipates that the space to will be open for the public again during the second week in June.

Activities normally scheduled in the chbMAKERS Space, including the Young Adult Council, continue to take place but are relocated to other rooms for the time being.

Keep An Eye Out

Some upcoming renovations that Mr Lord anticipates will be taking place this summer at the C.H. Booth Library include a variety of “invisible” projects that patrons will not necessarily see when visiting — like chimney and HVAC work.

There will also be a café added to the Gathering Space, more seating for grown-ups installed in the Children’s Department, updates to the panels and flooring in the elevator, and coworking spaces created on the third floor of the library.

“I’m very excited about those coworking spaces up on level three. They’ll be sort of small conference rooms with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and really fast printers,” Mr Lord said. “People will be able to reserve the rooms for small meetings, individual study space, one-on-one tutoring, or things of that nature. We’ll have some devices available, but people can also bring their own devices and hook them up to what we have in there.”

The library will also be consolidating the number of outdoor drop-off bins from three to one. The new bin will be larger and able to accommodate both books and media returns.

Mr Lord also is seeking to relocate the bin to a safer location, as the current spot for the bins is positioned near the path of cars coming down the driveway.

If the public has any questions or input about current or future renovations at the C.H. Booth Library, Mr Lord encourages them to reach out to him directly by calling 203-426-1561 or e-mailing dlord@chboothlibrary.org.

“We really appreciate the town support — the municipal support and the individual taxpayers and voters. We think about that constantly. We really want to make patrons the center of every single experience,” Mr Lord said. “We welcome feedback.”

For more information about the C.H. Booth Library, visit chboothlibrary.org.

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