While I was in the midst of writing this blog yesterday, I received exciting news to share. Governor Tom Wolf’s office announced that the new library project was among the recipients of a state grant in the amount of $1 million. This funding is awarded through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).
This news is all the more exciting as it brings new funding to the overall project budget. We completed the pre-application earlier this year with little expectation of receiving this award as it is highly competitive and there are many worthwhile projects up for consideration across the state. Much thanks to all who advocated for the support of this application, and especially to all our legislators—State Senator Vincent Hughes and State Representatives Thomas Murt, Ben Sanchez and Todd Stephens who continue to see the vision for this innovative project. Read more here.
Meanwhile, work continues to advance with the 520 Virginia Drive project. Demolition of interior walls and ceilings in preparation for construction and installing new equipment was completed and construction documents were submitted for Township approval.
The architects and library staff are busy with developing a furniture plan. While the project budget includes $1.25 million for new furnishings and equipment, our goal from the beginning has been to maximize those dollars, prioritizing where we most need new furnishings and to reuse as much of the Library’s existing furniture as possible. Both flexible and durable, much of our existing metal shelving can be reconfigured and repurposed for use in the new library. Relocation of approximately 75% of the Library’s existing furnishings are also currently in the plan. For one example, the beautiful leather seating in the reading room, just purchased in 2013, will simply be relocated to the new library’s reading room.
We’ve just begun exploring new furnishings for priority areas like the children’s library, meeting rooms, and the Great Hall upstairs. Two weeks ago, some of us had the chance to visit the showroom for Corbett, Inc., one office furnishings’ supplier we are considering. In particular, we tried out many types of chairs, chairs for classrooms, for leisure reading, for collaborating and even ones wide enough for an adult and child to curl up in together to read a book. Our goal is to provide a variety of seating in the new library so that, like Goldilocks, you can find one that is just right for you.
As summer quickly comes to a close, I hope you have a chance to relax in a “just right” chair of your own and enjoy a book or two. Here are some I recommend that I’ve found inspiring, enlightening, or just plain enjoyable so far this summer.
• Hello, Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall—2019 Caldecott winner; beautiful illustrations and lovely story to share with a little one.
• Bats at the Library by Brian Lies—one of his several “Bats” books; when the librarians are away, the bats will play
• Stuart Little by E.B. White—a truly timeless classic; I can never get over the preposterousness of a mouse born to a family of humans; follow his adventures; a great read aloud for the whole family to enjoy.
• Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis—This is my favorite! The first ever to receive both the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Awards; I strongly recommend the audiobook read by James Avery; download it from Overdrive and listen with the whole family on your August road trip.
Books for Teens/Adults
• The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead—If you missed this one when it got the Pulitzer, it’s worth picking up now; powerful and inspiring; not a light beach read by any means, but narrator Bahni Turpin brings the characters to life in the audio version (available through Overdrive).
• These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore—This doorstop of a book (960 pages) is where I’ve spent most of my reading time this summer; no small task taking on the history of the US; Lepore’s writing is always lyrical, and she provides diverse perspectives; in this reader’s opinion, it’s a page turner. I wonder how it will end. 🙂
Until next time, Happy Reading!