Our face lift – Phase 1

Libraries typically are a place of quiet and tranquility, though on some days here, you wouldn’t know it.

If you’ve come into the Waverly Free Library recently, you can’t miss the changes – half-filled shelves turn to empty shelves, then turn to open spaces throughout the library. Piles of books being transported, and big metal shelving pieces being taken apart and hauled away.

There are a couple of reasons for this, both of which are to benefit our patrons.

— First and foremost, in order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, libraries need to have at least 36 inches between aisles. Because we’ve been in our current location for 31 years, we’re exempted from that rule until we need to apply for a construction permit. And because the building where we’re housed is being sold – and we’re getting a significant amount of upgrades (we’ll get to those later) – we currently have a construction permit.

What does this mean? It means that we have to remove a number of shelves throughout the library and move them to free up enough space. That process is on-going, as you’ll see with one missing shelving unit in the junior area, one in fiction, one in non-fiction and one in the reference section.

The spacing – and reshelving – will be an ongoing event for at least another month, with a goal of having everything in place by late June. That way, when the new building owners put in our new carpeting, nothing more will need to be moved.

— The other reason is to open up more space in our ever-evolving efforts to change our library to fit what our patrons use it for.

There are days when it feels more like a Blockbuster Video (an old reference for many of you) – we often lend more DVDs on a given day than we do books – and others where it looks like a computer lab, with all eight of our public stations in use and a half-dozen laptops set up.

Sure, we still lend out a ton of books, and send many more to the other libraries in the Finger Lakes Library System, but with the prevalence of eBooks that number is dropping.

So what we see are changing uses of what we have to offer and for what our patrons expect. Which brings us back to the spacing …

Moving the shelves – and removing others – will free up a ton of space that will be used to accomplish some of these goals. We’re creating more comfortable spaces for people to sit and read, or chat, or even play a game. We’re hoping to designate a “quiet” area for the many students and tutors who use our library in the afternoons. And we’ll have the ability to bring more different types of things here for our patrons’ use and enjoyment.

As we go through the process, I’ll post pics of the progress and updates on what we’re doing. Feel free to ask any questions, either through the site, by e-mail (waverlylibrary@stny.rr.com) by phone or if you’re here, grab me and ask away.

— Chris Brewster is the Waverly Free Library director. You can contact him here or leave a comment below.