We hope you are finding plenty of material to read this summer while we work on breathing new life into this old building. When ripping and tearing down 135-year-old plaster and lathes from our first floor ceiling and walls, the volunteers have been in full body coverings, regardless of the heat, masks included.
At this point in the renovation process, the library room looks very bare. The renovation requires stripping the building down to its original beams, studs, and walls. This has allowed carpenters Jim Loney and Don Conr, to begin the rebuilding process, bringing the structure up to modern day code. The 3,300 square-foot two-story frame needed additional support to allow public access to its historic upstairs meeting and performance space.
The goal is to host gatherings on the second floor one day.
Large granite posts and rugged carrying timbers beneath the first floor have kept the building level for all of these years, but adding additional concrete piers, posts, and beams will assure that the upstairs remains solid and useable for generations to come. Once the additional supports are in place and fire stops are installed within each stud bay, the ceiling and walls can be put back together again. New wiring, insulation, new plumbing, drywall, and paint will turn the first floor library space into a useable year-round community facility.
Much has been accomplished since removing everything from the first floor on June 14. The physical labor and expert advice from the volunteer “demo crew” have been invaluable. Hours of consultation with engineer John Rand from Criterium Brown – Rand Engineers and architectural designer Lynn Talacko have brought us to this point of renovation. With a new bathroom, kitchenette, brightly-lit reading nooks, and shelves of reading material, we can’t wait until we can invite our community to use the library and gathering space.
Meanwhile, the library continues to reach out for funding, both for renovation and operating costs. It is through the generosity of donors that we are able to move forward with these goals. We are also extremely grateful to our large benefactors, including the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.
The library will be hosting four outdoor movie nights throughout the month of August. More information is available online at whitefieldlibrary.org.
To fundraise, the library will be selling a 2021 community calendar, featuring local artists each month. Artists interested in contributing a painting to fill our 12 month display, are asked to contact Sue McKeen at 446-7473.
While there may not be a librarian checking out books inside the old yellow building on Grand Army Hill, Whitefield Library & Community Center still has a lot happening inside. It has been a very busy place, with an optimistic eye towards the future.
(The Whitefield Library & Community Center is at 1 Arlington Lane, Whitefield, and whitefieldlibrary.org.)