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Monday, October 20, 2014
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Lake Pleasant Library expansion gets $138K in construction aid

Saturday, June 14, 2014 - Updated: 9:21 AM

SPECULATOR -- The Lake Pleasant Library Board of Trustees is excited about its expansion plans, especially with the June 12 announcement by Sen. Hugh Farley of $138,005 in construction aid.

With its collection up to 20,072 items (up more than 12 percent in the past five years), 11,298 patron visits in 2012 (up over 7 percent from 2011) and over 2,000 computer users, the board feels it is time to grow, and Farley's grant is a big boost.

The trustees envision the library as the indoor focal point of the community, with expanded services to serve both its patrons and the community at large. While the current building meets minimal needs, after 13 years more space is needed.

For example, the children's program, which meets in the Adirondack Room, is bursting at the seams. The library had to separate this year's 31 children into two groups, one meeting the first part of the school year and the other the second half of the school year.

Needless to say, it is more difficult to foster a love of reading in just half the time the children once had. A larger children's room would accommodate more grade levels and more activities.

MORE COMPUTERS

Along the same lines, the increase in technology, media-based reading and web-based learning has also placed greater demands on the library.

The library needs more space to accommodate the demand for more public computers; digital media such as digital video and audio and e-books; and web-based learning.

With more computers the board plans to dedicate one to software that will allow patrons to research their ancestry.

Providing free access to digital media to townspeople of all economic levels is a top priority. Not everyone can afford the costs associated with a computer and Internet access.

The library offers this service free and many residents currently use it, doing everything from schoolwork to bill paying and filing taxes.

It is not unrealistic to envision a time when patrons will use the library to check out digital devices with downloaded media for home use. The library is already a great source of movies and educational programs on DVD.

Expanding the building will allow expansion of the library's entire virtual component, with an expectation that web-based continuing education can become a reality.

GATHERING PLACE

With no community hall, the library is often used for meetings and programs. However, it has exceeded its occupancy limit at times, to the displeasure of the town's code enforcement officer.

The board's vision includes providing more space for workshops, meetings and programs. An enlarged meeting room and more computers would also address the needs of local businesses for meeting space, downloading seminars and training classes.

More workspace is also needed for repairing books, storing materials for the children's program and other library activities and segregating donated books until they can be evaluated.

The board would also like a room dedicated to ongoing book sales, which would help sustain the facility.

COLLABORATION

One exciting idea is partnering with the Historical Society of Lake Pleasant and Speculator. The two groups are eager to collaborate, but do not have the space.

A main goal is creating an area for archiving local records, such as historical books and photos; and displaying memorabilia and artifacts that currently cannot be exhibited in the tiny town museum.

Accessibility is also an issue. As the population ages the library has an obligation to make its services more accessible. The current facility is "challenging accessible."

A REALISTIC PLAN

Jim Reis of Enerondack Engineering & Design Services, Kaulfuss Rd., is doing the plans for the expansion. He says the much larger building will cost less to heat and light than the current building, thanks to energy efficient systems and solar panels.

Expansion pictures and information are online at www.lakepleasantlibrary.org/.

The Board of Trustees is grateful for the community's support, and reminds readers the expansion will be almost entirely paid for by grants and donations. It will be done in phases, as the money is raised.

Lake Pleasant Library is not only a cultural asset, but also an economic asset through its offerings to tourists, seasonal residents and seasonal employees. The board feels it can achieve its goals with the cooperation and support of community members, organizations and municipalities.

     

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