Community Library looks to future


By Patsy Nicosia

The Community Library, Cobleskill, took its future to the second stage Thursday when architect Paul Mays ran through plans and possibilities for about three dozen patrons, trustees, and members of the staff.
Mr. Mays is an architect for the firm of Butler Rowland and Mays Architects, a Balston Spa firm that specializes in libraries.
His presentation will be repeated this Saturday, May 6, 10:30-12:30pm in the library’s lower level.
Among the things Mr. Mays is looking at is how to best use the library’s existing space and unique architectural features.
“This is an important part of the process,” he told the audience before beginning a power point presentation showcasing before and after photos from many libraries around the Northeast.
“Each library should represent their community, both in architecture and in the services they provide…The pencil has not been put to paper and no assumptions have been made. We recognize that this process requires public input from the beginning.”
Those attending the meetings are being asked to answer a few questions including:
•What brings you to our library?
•What is the library’s most important role in the community and what modifications would help the library fulfill it?
• What spaces, features, or collections would you like to see added or expanded?
Following Mr. Mays’ presentation, the audience split into small groups to answer those questions before sharing them publicly and Library Director Devon Hedges said afterwards that they echoed many of the things Mr. Mays had touched on.
Books will always remain the most important part of any library, all agreed, but they’re interested in seeing the Community Library’s space put to better use, Mr. Hedges said.
Of particular interest were creating a better space for things like Thursday’s meeting, where structural pillars obscure the view and the acoustics are challenging.
The library has a children’s room and teen space—both of which could be better used—and Mr. Hedges said one of the more interesting suggestions from Thursday’s meeting was adding an elder space.
Mr. Mays said the Community Library is in remarkable shape; any modifications to the existing portion of the library are likely to be “pretty minimal,” Mr. Hedges said, and could run the gamut from moving furniture to taking down walls.
The library also owns the annex on the back side of its building, and though improvements have been made there, any larger-scale work would be very expensive and is likely years off.
“We’re just starting figuring things out,” Mr. Hedges said. “Asking questions and collecting raw material for Paul to take back to begin to work with.”
No final decisions or plans are expected before the end of the year, Mr. Hedges said.