Gloversville Public Library – Restoration of an Historic Carnegie Library

Historic Carnegie Library Building

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.

View of the curving staircase inside the Gloversville Public Library.

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.

Schenectady Gazette - Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo, a Gloversville native, cuts a ribbon at the Gloversville Public Library to announce that he would chair a capital campaign to raise funds for library improvements, on Thursday, October 23, 2014.

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.

Photo by Levi Pascher From left, Gloversville Public Library Director Barbara Madonna, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth CEO Ron Peters, State Sen. Hugh Farley, Mohawk Valley Library System Director Eric Trahan and President of the Library’s Board of Trustees Christine Pesses. Farley announced Monday he secured $2 million in state funding for future library renovations and the city library honored him for his dedication to community.

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.

Dusten Rader/Express staff A renovation kick-off event was held Thursday at the Gloversville Public Library. From left, Merry Brown, library board of trustees vice president; Christine Pesses, board president; Betsy Batchelor, trustee; Barbara Madonna, library director; Craig Clark, trustee; Robin Lair, trustee secretary and Lisa Buggeln, trustee, vice president of finance.

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.

THE LOWER LEVEL WILL BE TRANSFORMED INTO A YOUTH CENTER. EXPANDED CHILDREN'S LIBRARY WITH NICHES FOR EXPLORATION, LEARNING AND SHARING. SEPARATE TEEN SPACE CREATIVE LEARNING, TECHNOLOGY, SOCIALIZING AND STUDYING. CHILDREN'S ACTIVITY ROOM FOR CLASS VISITS, STORYTIMES PROGRAMS AND PLAY.

THE MAIN LEVEL WILL SPREAD OUT THE EXISTING ADULT SERVICES. BRING THE LOCAL HISTORY ROOM TO THE MAIN FLOOR PROVIDE ADDITIONAL MEETING ROOMS. PROVIDE MORE QUIET NICHES FOR READING AND STUDYING.

THE UPPER LEVEL AND ITS AMENITIES WILL FINALLY BE ACCESSIBLE. AN ELEVATOR WILL CONVEY PATRONS TO EVERY FLOOR INCLUDING THE LARGE CARNEGIE MEETING ROOM. A LARGE 30'X40' SPACE WILL BE DIVIDED INTO TWO GATHERING SPACES PROVIDING SMALL, MEDIUM AND LARGE MEETING ROOMS. GALLERY SPACE WILL BE CREATED TO SHOWCASE THE LIBRARY'S COLLECTIONS AND COMMUNITY'S TREASURERS.


For More Information:
Gloversville Public Library
34 WEST Fulton Street • PO Box 73 • Gloversville, New York
phone: (518) 725-2819 • fax: (518) 773-0292
gpl@mvls.info

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