The roots of the Gloversville Public Library dates back to 1880 with the incorporation of the Levi Parsons Library of Gloversville and Kingsboro, a subscription library.
In 1888 the library re-chartered as the Gloversville Free Library, an association library. And finally in 2005, when support from the city of Gloversville was reduced from $150,000 per year to $0, the library re-chartered again, this time as a school district public library. It was a hard fought battle that was won with just 42 votes.
Once the dust settled the newly elected trustees turned their attention to the 1904 Carnegie building. There had been three previous, but unsuccessful, attempts to implement some form of renovation of the historic facility starting in the 1970s.
By 2005, the heating and plumbing systems were 102 years old, there was no air condition to fight the 95° days of the summer, the dome was leaking – again, and 3 of the 4 levels of the building were inaccessible because we lacked an elevator.
Not knowing where to start, we just started. The first project was to seal the dome and repaint the 40 foot high lobby. Our Friends group jumped on board with a fundraiser that, surprisingly, raised over $25,000!
Next we hired an architect for a master plan. We invested in a basement moisture remediation project then an exterior masonry cleaning project. We started writing DLD public library construction grants for these break out projects. These small projects gave us confidence that we could undertake the full renovation while also completing key pieces of the project.
The economic conditions of Gloversville and Fulton County led the trustees to the decision that we would not ask the taxpayers for a bond referendum. We committed to raising all of the money another way.
A fundraising consultant was critical and by working with him we explored new avenues and uncovered new sources of funding. We wrote 4 CFAs (consolidated funding applications) and received 4 awards totaling $1,513,000.
We were awarded over $850,000 for 7 DLD construction grants. Senator Farley secured $2,250,000 in State and Municipal Facilities funding. And the donors in our community, over 850, pledged over $4,000,000.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held this past May. The asbestos abatement is complete and the old boiler removed. Currently we have a huge pit with footing forms for the new additions in place and the interior is being gutted of its lath and plaster.
With luck, construction will be done in September 2018 and we’ll move home that fall. This project has been a long, labor of love for so many people.
We raised the funds the hard way, but through those efforts we have been able to involve more people, build community partnerships, raise awareness about library services and engage the entire community.
This process has not just resulted in a successful fundraising campaign and building project, but has built a solid foundation for the success of the library’s programs and services once we move back into the newly renovated, but still historic, Carnegie Library.
For More Information:
Gloversville Public Library
34 WEST Fulton Street • PO Box 73 • Gloversville, New York
phone: (518) 725-2819 • fax: (518) 773-0292