Library celebrates efforts

GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Public Library has 1.7 million reasons to celebrate.

Supporters of the library so far have raised $1.7 million for improvements at the library.

On Wednesday, the library thanked donors and marked the end of the first phase of the capital campaign. The first phase raised $886,000, and library supporters previously had contributed $814,000, bringing the total raised to $1.7 million.

“I am delighted to announce that we have achieved our goals for this first stage of active campaign solicitation,” Friends and Family Division Co-Chairmen David Heacock said. “The hard work of our volunteers was met with tremendous generosity by the donors, with whom we met during the course of the past three months.”

The first phase of fundraising began in September. The money was raised by approximately 60 community donors and 14 staff members of the library, officials said.

The library has plans for the money.

The Butler Rowland Mays firm is studying the building to develop a plan to allow access to all levels, convert the lower level into a youth center, add program and classroom spaces and install a new ventilation system.

The library is planning a renovation that will provide more space for its collections, technology and programs.

Library officials previously unveiled a completed design for the full renovation of the East Fulton Street library, which is a Carnegie building.

A key element of the project will be the renovation of the basement to provide a new children’s library and a teen room, officials said.

Some of the donors have asked their donations be used for specific parts of the project.

David Fisher, a member of the Board of Trustees, gave in memory of his father, Richard C. Fisher. He asked that the donation be designated for a new elevator.

The library has a lot of space in the upper and lower levels available to the public, but those areas aren’t handicapped-accessible.

“My father was a trustee of the Gloversville Free Library for many years. He had to retire from that position because he physically was unable to climb the stairs to get to board meetings,” Fisher said. “He would have loved to continue his work as trustee, but the lack of an elevator took that possibility away. This project is a long time coming and will allow all people, young or old, able or disabled, to access all floors of the library.”

Some improvements to the library already are under way, but library Director Barbara Madonna said construction on major renovations should start in 2015.

“This is such an important project for the library and community,” Madonna said. “We will transform one of Gloversville’s architectural gems into a 21st-century learning center, with so much more for kids and families, seniors and business people, as well as students and job seekers. I am so thankful to our wonderful volunteers and look forward to moving ahead toward our 2015 construction start date.”

Capital Campaign Chairwoman Christine Pesses said it is important for the library to make improvements because it has become a vital place for social gathering since the neighboring Jewish Community Center and YMCA closed.

She said the library is a resource to the community from “womb to tomb.”

Pesses said all walks of life use the library, from the elderly looking to get updates on how modern technology works, children and teens using the facility to expand their young minds, and even pregnant mothers looking for information about pregnancy process.

“We are really here to serve all types of people, and the only thing keeping them from using what we already have is themselves,” Pesses said.

The library has not yet determined the total cost of the renovation projects, but Madonna said she expects the cost to be in the millions of dollars.

She said the goal is to raise $4 million from donations and obtain $3 million from state and federal funding.

Madonna said some of the money raised already was used for moisture remediation of the basement area so items can be stored safely in that location, and for an assessment of hazardous materials that would have to be removed during renovations.

The library, built in 1904, also will replace older windows with energy-efficient ones thanks to a state grant, private donors and a gift from the Friends of the Library.

The library was awarded a $200,374 grant to replace some windows in the building with energy-efficient and historically accurate replicas, a news release said.

The grant will be combined with $30,000 from the Friends of the Library’s fundraising efforts and a $50,000 anonymous donation. Another $15,000 will come from the capital project budget for the work.

Madonna said she expects the window work to be completed in the spring.

The capital campaign is scheduled to begin its Leadership Giving Phase in early 2014 and will launch a Community Giving Phase in 2015.

The library worked with the architectural firm of Butler, Roland & Mays of Ballston Spa on the renovation design.

With the completion of the architectural plan, the library has hired Financial Development Agency of Amherst, Mass., to manage a capital campaign to complete the funding for the projects.

The company is working with the library to develop a campaign steering committee to lead the fundraising effort, the news release said.

People who want to learn more about the campaign may contact the Gloversville Public Library campaign office at 725-2819 or via email at