Library reports continued progress into the new year

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 5:30pm

Correction: the Island Free Library was not entirely closed over the summer season. The library has been open since June providing outdoor services to patrons, and the building opened to the public in the fall.

While the Island Free Library was not open to the public during the summer season, Director Kristin Baumann announced during her Library Director’s Report at the Board of Trustees’ virtual meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19 that the library was continuing to make progress and push forward after the holiday season.

“We just kept trying to move forward. We had a fun holiday season. There’s usually a lot of library programs and we run around like crazy. It was different for us but we still had fun. We had a good time,” said Baumann.

Back in November, the library opened its doors to the public, with screens and Plexiglass dividers mounted for the health and safety of visitors. The library continues to follow all state guidelines and recommendations, and currently operates as a “hybrid library” with all programming now virtual. She noted in her report that new merchandise was available at the library, as well as a ton of books available for sale.

“We gave away a lot of free books [this year]. We do have a ton of books for sale but we have so many that we now sell three books for a dollar,” said Baumann. “We can continue to be open – but people can’t stay long. We understand that. We feel safe,” said Baumann.

Building and grounds update

Vice Chair Lisa Nolan addressed the ongoing window replacement project at the library, and mentioned the contractor for the project, Lucas Silva, is currently waiting on pieces for the project.

“[He is] still waiting for some moldings for the windows. He does hope to actually have those windows on that [back side] installed by the end of next week,” said Nolan. “I was there the other day, and Kristin and I noticed the shingling has started and they have shingled up to the level of the windows,” added Nolan.

“Yes” agreed Baumann.

In a phone call with The Block Island Times, Baumann stated the window replacement project for the library is split into two phases, with the library currently in the first phase of the project, replacing the upper-level windows on the back wall of the building. Phase two of the window project will be replacing the rest of the windows on the building.

On the back wall of the library where the new windows will be placed, Baumann also said in the phone call that recent rain had entered into some rooms due to gaps in the wall. This situation raised a concern at the meeting for the books and other materials that inhabit the library.

“I think we would all agree, it feels frustrating. But if that’s how it goes down, that’s not the end of the world. Recently, we had bad rain, and we came to work, and those rooms were wet. We need to keep the project moving forward. It was distressing to have wet carpets and books,” said Baumann.

“I feel we should get it buttoned up and move forward,” said Nolan.

A railing maintenance update was also given by Nolan to the trustees.

“[We are] fixing the broken section of the new railing and adding back a bollard,” said Nolan. “I do think based on a conversation with Kristin, there might be some leftover money to pay for the repair and maybe coating. We are moving forward with getting that done,” said Nolan.

Trustee Dave Sniffen added to the buildings and grounds update that a water fountain for the library was “all ready to go. It’s ready to be installed.”