Renovation efforts are well underway at the Syracuse Public Library — and they are much needed renovations after 20 years.
“Twenty years ago the library was just going online with its catalog,” said Becky Brower, who does communications for the library. “It was time to repaint, re-carpet.” However, Brower noted, “It’s not just an appearance thing.”
Cracks had formed in tiles; water had entered the building, particularly in the Harrison Street entrance; and wallpaper had begun to peel or become stained. Brower noted, “After 20 years, things can get banged up.”
Work, being completed by DJ Construction’s Service Group, began toward the end of November with the children’s department now through the worst of the renovation, according to Gisela Vore, children’s librarian and interim director. And through it, a lot of space has opened up.
“We are trying to create zones,” Vore said. These zones will allow for both quiet or collaborative work, according to Vore. There will also be a new computer station for children that will use a round desk.
Staff will get a new circulation desk, already partially in place, in the department. It, like the pillars and archways in the children’s department, will feature vibrant colors.
Like the other portions of the library, the children’s department will be adopting a more nautical color scheme with fresh paint on the walls and new blue carpet, resembling waves, on the floor. Downstairs the paint job is complete while upstairs it is currently underway.
In both sections of the library, layouts will be changing in a manner that makes them more open, which will provide more places for adults, teens, young adults and children to study or meet for group activities.
Brower said, “We want to enhance activities that see real popularity — that people are wanting at the library.”
To further that goal, new furniture will be brought at a future date. Brower noted they particularly wanted to change the seating to make it more comfortable.
The entrances and stairways will get a makeover as well. The Main Street entrance’s terrazzo will be shined up, and its wallpaper will be replaced with paint. Vore noted they will be adding a special scrapper material near the door to remove muck from patron’s shoes; the same material will also be used in the Harrison Street entrance.
Expect more extensive work to be done next year on the latter entrance where existing tile will be gutted and replaced with new flooring material. Its wallpaper will also be removed to make way for paint.
“We are looking into doors,” Vore said, noting the doors at both entrances act up and have been repaired multiple times.
Connected to the Harrison Street entrance remodel, the bathrooms will receive new tiles and layouts. “All bathrooms will be handicap accessible,” Vore said. “The new overall layout is designed to be more accessible.”
Behind the scenes, the staff room will get much needed attention with a new kitchenette, table and chairs, plus carpet and paint. The staff bathroom will also be gutted and overhauled.
“The library has saved up for a long time to do these renovations,” Vore said. “The library has been very frugal.”
Throughout the process of the renovation, the library will remain open. Vore stated, “(The renovation work) is a little inconvenient for patrons, but at least the library is open and they can check in and out upstairs or downstairs.”