Community Library: What do you want us to be?


By Patsy Nicosia

What do you want your library to be?
That’s one of the questions the Community Library will ask at a pair of meetings Thursday, April 27, 5:30-7:30pm and Saturday, May 6, 10:30-12:30pm.
Both meetings, said Ken Hotopp, president of the Community Library’s Board of Trustees, will take a look at a study on the building just-completed by architect Paul Mays.
Though Mr. Mays’ work focused mainly on the building’s physical aspect, what to do with the space inside will be influenced by what sort of services patrons want, Mr. Hotopp said.
“I go in the library and there are so many different things going on,” Mr. Hotopp said. “People using the computers, kids’ activities, even people doing things like making personal phone calls…it’s really a community space—a place of shelter if you will—and we want to know how to maximize that.
“Yes, it’s still books, but it’s also a lot more.”
Mr. Mays’ study began with a look at the library annex—a former school—that the library has been charged with caring for.
The annex has a new roof, windows, and insulation; the next step is deciding how to best put that space to use, Mr. Hotopp said.
Earlier meetings with patrons and others have indicated a lot of interest in having a place for meetings at the library—something that’s one possible use of the annex.
It’s also been suggested as a place for the Town of Cobleskill’s Historical Society records.
Any changes there will be gradual, Mr. Hotopp said; he estimates it will cost at least $1 million to renovate the annex.
“But we want to put together a plan even as we keep that space in good shape”, he said, pointing out that the library has already extended water and a fire sprinkler system to the space.
The upcoming meetings will also seek input on what patrons want to do with the existing library space.
While keeping in mind issues like security and safety, Mr. Hotopp said the library board is interested in ways to balance, say, children’s programming—which can sometimes be loud and raucous—with more traditional quiet space.
Speaking personally, Mr. Hotopp said he sees libraries as a place of shelter—something that includes comfortable chairs, places to relax—and places to get work done.
“Libraries are changing, but it’s clear they’re not going away. They’re evolving,” Mr. Hotopp said. “We want to hear what people want the Cobleskill library to be.”
The Community Library is located at 110 Union Street, Cobleskill.
The meetings on April 27 and May 6 will be in the Program Room on the lower level.
All are welcome, but please RSVP by calling 234-7897.