Although they’ve been a long time in the making, some big changes at the Gardiner Public Library are finally NEWS!
At last, we are moving forward with renovations of the Community Archives Room. The first and biggest sign you may have already noticed is the Archives is now commandeering, if you will, the Hazzard Reading Room on the main floor. In late April, we rolled every last item up from the basement and set up shop in the reading room. The quarters are a little compact, but things seem to be running smoothly.
|Moved in! — Our Community Archives Room is temporarily in the Hazzard Reading Room.|
Another sign you might have noticed is construction noise for a few days. We’re pretty sure that the worst of it is already behind us. You may rightly wonder just what was causing such a racket – so I’ll take this opportunity to fill a few details of just what’s happening down there.
|Before the move & Before renovations|
As, many of you know, GPL’s basement is home to a wonderful collection of local history materials and genealogical records. With microfilm of Gardiner newspapers going back to the early 1800s; photographs, postcards, maps and directories of Gardiner through the ages; and many compilations of family histories, it is Gardiner’s historical treasure trove. The Community Archives Room first opened in 1985 and, since then, has received wonderful patronage and support – both locally and from persons all over the US and abroad who have ties to Gardiner. It has also seen its share of worries – most notably, the 1987 flood, which brought over 2 feet of water into the basement. To manage that risk in the future, we now have everything stored on mobile carts and rolling shelves – the entire collection can be moved upstairs in well under an hour!
We keep all of our materials in acid-free archival boxes and folders, but the library and the room, itself, are really the biggest storage “box” for safe-keeping the collection. With that in mind, we are installing an HVAC system to control the climate (both temperature and humidity) of the room, as well as new LED lighting that, unlike the old fluorescent fixtures, will not damage photos, books, or other light-sensitive materials. The ceiling joists and support beams that carry the weight of the book stacks on the main floor have been reinforced (that was most of the noise you might have heard) and, finally, the walls and floors are being updated to materials that are more moisture resistant and less dust-producing.
The project represents the third and final stage in the 3-stage renovation of the interior of the GPL. We are working with Syl Doughty, the talented architect who restored the main floor and children’s room to their original glory. So, as delightful as it is to be up the Hazzard Room for a few months (with windows and a garden view!), it will be exciting to return to a wonderfully renovated and well-designed archive!
|Ready for some changes: lighting, flooring, walls & climate control!|
In the meantime, we apologize for any disruptions – but we hope that this brief hiccup will help to introduce more folks to our wonderful historic collections; and we know it will help to preserve our rich local history for generations to come! Thank you for your patience and support!