Charlotte Library spreading the word about expansion plans

Photo by Scooter MacMillan
From left, Director of the Charlotte Library Margaret Woodruff and Nan Mason, president of the Friends of the Library, are ready to get the word out about the proposed library expansion project.

By SCOOTER MACMILLAN

The Charlotte Library is encouraging people coming in to check out books to also check out plans for a proposed new addition to the building.

Charlotte Library Director Margaret Woodruff said people are invited to stop by and review the plans. Woodruff and members of the Library’s Bond Campaign Committee attended the Charlotte Selectboard on Monday to present their plan.

Library representatives also did a presentation of the proposed project at the Charlotte Senior Center and have another planned for the Charlotte Grange tonight at 7:15.The Selectboard voted unanimously to add a $700,000 bond article to the Town Meeting ballot. If approved by voters, the bond would match $700,000 the library plans to raise for the proposed $1.4 million project.

Chair of the Charlotte Library Board of Trustees Jonathan Silverman told the Selectboard at the Jan. 14 meeting that the library has raised or gotten pledges for $350,000 in donations so far.

Photo by Scooter MacMillan
An artist rendering of the Charlotte Library with an addition to the back of the building.

Overcrowding at library

Nan Mason, a member of the library’s board of trustees and president of the Friends of the Charlotte Library, said in a recent interview that over the past year, the library has provided space for 330 programs.

“There is no dedicated space, so programs sort of take place on top of people coming to the library,” she said.

The plans call for a 2,175-square-foot addition to the existing building, which measures 2,700 square feet. The addition would add a dedicated program room, children’s areas, an additional restroom and a space for coats. “This plan is not set in stone,” said Woodruff. “This is just an artist’s rendering of the possibility.”

The current building was designed for 8,000 books, but it now holds 15,000, Mason said. The addition would allow for an additional 18,000 volumes, Woodruff added.

The cost of the to taxpayers would be less than $5 a year per $100,000 of property value for 20 years, Mason and Woodruff said.

The Friends of the Charlotte Library hired Christine Graham and Joyce Cellars of CPG Enterprises in Burlington to conduct a feasibility study. The study found there was public support for a library expansion. CPG Enterprises also was hired to help with the capital campaign.

Turning up the volume on fundraising

Last week when The Citizen visited the library, 12 students from Charlotte Central School rushed in for the fourth-grade writing club after school. Their coats, boots and backpacks filled the floor of a hallway to the work room in back. There is no closet or hanger space.

As they worked on their stories at the long table in the library, they were not quite in the laps of other patrons, but space was at a premium.

“Up until now we’ve been in the quiet phase of campaign fundraising,” Mason said.

CPG recommended going to people in Charlotte who might make big donations during the “quiet phase” and once half of the $700,000 was raised, “to throw it open to the public.”

The Charlotte Library opened in February 1997 and was built for $350,000 with $500,000 in donations. The extra $150,000 funded the renovation of an attic space with a pulldown ladder and stairs to a mezzanine for storage and a work room.

“When the library was built 20 years ago, we weren’t sure what a library would look like in 20 years,” said Mason. With the internet just starting to catch on “we knew that we probably didn’t need a full set of encyclopedias,” she added.

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