Public library to close 2nd floor for facelift

By Jason Hawk -



New furniture, fresh carpet, and a redesigned layout are coming this fall to the Amherst Public Library.

The Spring Street building’s second floor will shut down in November for about $200,000 in renovations, according to director Don Dovala.

“Now is the time to do it. It fits with our strategic plan,” he said. “When we asked the public, everyone agreed our needs were comfort, separation of our children’s area, and addressing the age of the carpet and furniture. The public deserves a modern, updated feel.”

At the heart of the project is the children’s area, which will get new shelves to better hold oversized picture books.

The bookcases will be pushed toward the center of the second floor, creating a more secluded area for kids to play and read aloud, with more comfortable seating near the library’s large windows.

On the far side of the floor, a teen area will be created to hold young adult novels and comic books.

It will be situated in a corner that used to hold reference books, which have in the past year been thinned of older, out-of-date texts. But teen materials will be placed right next to the APL’s nonfiction collection to make after-school studying convenient.

Computers will be slightly rearranged and shifted so librarians can move their reference desk.

The entire area will get new carpet for the first time in 20 years and some walls — the ones that aren’t sandstone or brick — will get a fresh coat of paint. Some electrical outlets will be moved to match the new flow.

The work means the upstairs section of the library will be off-limits to the public almost the entire month of November, Dovala said.

During that time, computers will be moved to the community meeting room on the ground floor. A majority of reading materials will still be accessible, but in some cases you may have to ask a librarian to fetch certain titles. The most popular books, especially those for children, will be kept downstairs as they are circulated.

Cincinnati-based Only Libraries Inc. has been hired to do the work. Costs include about $130,000 for furniture (including shelving), roughly $40,000 for infrastructure updates, and incidentals.

Some of the project is being covered by DeLloyd money used for a recent interior overhaul of the original Andrew Carnegie section of the library. The rest of the cash comes from the library’s building fund.

Officials have been saving up for the work the past two years, Dovala said.

Meanwhile, construction is wrapping up on an addition to the library that will be used for storage and offices.

The expansion is on the east side of the library and is almost unnoticeable unless you know what to look for. It was designed to match the look of the west side of the building.

“In some ways I think it balances the building much better than it was before because it mirrors the other side of the library so well,” Dovala said.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.


By Jason Hawk