Sunday, June 7, 2009

Library addition taking shape

CHINCOTEAGUE — A new addition to the Chincoteague Island Library is under construction and scheduled to be completed in September of this year, officials said.

The Eastern Shore Public Library Board of Trustees toured the addition on Monday after its monthly meeting, which was held on the island.

“As you can see, we needed room to grow,” said Carl Palmer, vice president of the Island Library’s Board of Directors and overseer of the construction project, on the tour.

The library opened in 1995 in a renovated 1890s barber’s shop. It is run by two part-time employees and about 25 volunteers.
“We had the idea to expand from the time that we opened,” said Board of Directors President Linda Ryan.

The town donated the land on which the addition is being built. The project was set in motion about five years ago, when the size of the addition necessary to serve the needs of the library’s patrons was assessed.“We just don’t have an adequate collection to serve the needs of the island.

During the summer, we have so many computer users and visitors that the space was inadequate,” Palmer said.Fundraising efforts ranged from collection boxes placed in businesses around town to grants. “We had so many groups and individuals that helped us achieve our goal in two years,” said Ryan.

Billy Reed Jr. Construction, a company located on the island, began building the addition in November of last year.

Plans for the new addition include a children’s room, meeting room, and a second reading room. The second floor will have additional bookshelves and a section on Chincoteague’s history. The addition will be complete with a sprinkler system and an elevator.“It’s very handicap-friendly,” said Palmer.

The new building will also allow the library to have more computers for public access. During the peak tourist season, approximately 500 people use the library’s computers each week.

The library currently has around 7,000 books. “We plan to triple that,” said Palmer.Once the addition is completed, everything will be moved out of the original building, which will be renovated.

The original part of the library will be used as a reading room and popular books section. “We just can’t wait,” said Ryan. “It’s happening.”The Chincoteague Island Library, located on Main Street, is open six days a week: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

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