The new Saugerties Public Library is open for business.
With the renovation of the old building and construction of the 8,000-square-feet approved by voters in May 2008 at a cost of $7 million complete, a sneak peak on Saturday, Jan 29 was followed by the official first day, Feb. 1.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” said Maggie Green, who lives across the street. “I feel sort of attached to it. Watching it go up was almost magical.”
Many commented on the wealth of natural light the new design provides.
“It’s very bright; I really love it,” said Aria Levitas.
Much of the new space is given over to specific activity-based rooms, like a teen room, a children’s room, a community meeting room, and a private study room for tutoring. The new library provides Wi-Fi access for laptops and 21 public computers. The old library had four.
Six-year-old Francesca Levitas said she enjoyed looking around the children’s room, though her favorite part of Saturday’s Sneak Peek was having a dolphin painted on her hand.
The library’s entrance has been moved to the ground level of the newly built addition – no more stairs to get in. In fact, it will be possible to get around without climbing a single step – the new library has an elevator.
The library has two floors, with spaces devoted to children, teens and community groups occupying much of the first and the main stacks on the second.
The community room has a seating capacity of 80 and contains permanently mounted audio visual equipment, including a projector and screen, and is available for use as a meeting place for community groups. This room will provide a much-needed alternative to the Senior Center on Market Street.
The children’s room, also on the first floor, is painted bright green and blue, with matching carpets of various patterns. The teen room is fully enclosed to give teens a sense of privacy and prevent them from disturbing other patrons. Blues and oranges dominate the room, which includes modular shelving that can be removed for events. Three computers line one wall of the room, and windows allow a librarian to keep an eye on things.
Upstairs, the adult section spans the entire upper floor. The walls are covered with a crisp greenish yellow. The old entrance to the library, atop the steep staircase in front, is now a reading room enclosed in glass.
The addition houses the director’s office and a small study room that can also be used as an office for local business people or for tutoring.
In what was the original library, the Rip Van Winkle fireplace has been cleaned and is now the centerpiece for a soft seating area. The local history room, which was once only viewable only by request, will now be open to the community.
With the exception of the local history room, and library computer terminals, visitors can bring their morning coffee and pastry to the library with them, or pack a lunch and spend the day browsing.
Space is available to park strollers and carriages, a bike rack will be added in the coming weeks, and in spring, seating will be added outside for patrons who wish to read or use laptops in the fresh air.
Regular library hours are Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.