Shelburne’s public library is in the final stages of a transformation that the town has been talking about for years.
In November 2017, Shelburne voters approved a $6.5 million bond to pay for a new library in the same location as the now-demolished old one. The construction work began last August.
In 2001, the Pierson Library moved into a space attached to Shelburne’s historic Town Hall. That location was always intended to be temporary until the town could come up with a better solution.
“The old library was actually built as town offices and as the old police station, so it was never built to be a library,” library director Kevin Unrath said.
He added that the old library simply wasn’t big enough to meet the community’s needs. There was just one small meeting room, and the children’s section sat in the Town Hall’s basement. The new kids’ room should be much more welcoming, and there should be plenty of other additions.
“It will also have several small and large meeting rooms,” Unrath said. “It’ll have a community living room where we can have events for up to 50 people. That’s going to be a beautiful space.”
The Town Hall is also being renovated. Unrath told the library’s Board of Trustees Thursday night that the Town Hall portion of the project is just about done. The new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is being installed right now.
“Close to a million dollars’ worth of renovations as part of this project,” Unrath said. “We spent a lot of time making sure it’s going to be around for another hundred years.”
Since last July, the library has been operating out of the Shelburne Field House on Athletic Drive in a space about one-fifth the size of the old library.
So the new library can’t open quickly enough for town officials.
“The board’s been looking at it for over ten years, really, and it’s finally come to fruition and we’re just about ready to open sometime this summer,” Unrath said.
If the remaining steps in the process take place on schedule, the new library should be ready sometime in August.
The library project even includes improvements to Shelburne’s municipal campus, where the town offices are.