State of the Bigelow Free Public Library Building (Feb 2015)

State of the Bigelow Free Public Library Building (2/18/2015)

A Document of Concern from the Trustees of the Bigelow Free Public Library

The fabric of the Bigelow Free Public Library (BFPL) building, located at 54 Walnut Street, Clinton, is in need of urgent attention. Simply put, our town’s 113-year-old historic Carnegie library building needs to be made wind and waterproof, which presently it is not.

Although the Board of Trustees sees a watertight roof and energy efficient windows and doors as priorities, at this time the Trustees are entering into consultation with the town’s building committee for its guidance and recommendations for the overall library building.

Unlike other town-owned properties, such as the recently refurbished Town Hall, the relatively new Parks and Recreation building, and the under-renovation new Senior Center, other than an emergency replacement of the furnace (2010) and switching from oil to gas heating (2014), the three-story library building has not had a significant update since the installation of the essential elevator and ADA compliant restrooms in 1991. Unfortunately, a roof replacement of about 15 years ago is not living up to its life expectancy, despite yet another round of repairs in 2014. Meanwhile the benefits of the prudent switch from oil to gas are being undermined by tremendous heat loss via non-thermal, non-energy efficient windows.

Currently water damage (again from the roof) and an inability to adequately heat areas of the library during the winter months, impact both patrons and staff. For example, the downstairs meeting area, which is used extensively by individual patrons working and studying on their personal computers, community groups, and for library programs, has limited use in the colder weather.

The annual appropriated town budget for the library provides a figure for day-to-day maintenance of the library, but this figure is insufficient to address the concerns the Trustees have relating to the state of the fabric of the library building. The matters we raise will only get worse over time, and, by definition, become more costly to fix. We therefore turn to the town for guidance.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

The Board of Trustees of the Bigelow Free Public: Susan Franco, Russ Grady Sr., Caroline Keiger, Gloria Parkinson, Fran Purcell, and Nancy Starr (Chair).