Chelsea plans for new library facility

Published 8:04 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2010

By KATIE HURST/ Staff Writer

CHELSEA — Chelsea residents will soon have more space to relax with a book at the Chelsea Public Library as the city plans for a new library facility to open this spring.

The City Council approved a resolution Oct. 5 allowing the mayor to proceed with the acceptance of a bid from Clements Dean Building Company LLC to renovate the Crane House as the main library facility.

The Crane House sits directly behind Chelsea City Hall. The renovations will make it the main building for the library, with the current library space used as overflow meeting areas.

“I’m excited for the next step we’re about to take,” said library director Dana Polk. “I hope more programs will be available now that we’ll be a little bigger.”

The bid from Clements Dean Building Company was for $132,668 and will include several renovations including flooring, walkways, accessible bathrooms and a new children’s room, Polk said.

Mayor Earl Niven said the new facility is needed because of the expanding library program. The council originally wanted to build a new library building, but because of the economy, have had to hold off on those plans, he said. The Crane House will be a temporary facility for the next 4-5 years until the city can gain enough revenue to build a new facility.

Polk said the new, larger facility couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Our numbers show an increase in usage over the last year,” she said. “We are busting at the seams.”

Polk said in the current facility, inside City Hall, there is not enough space for library users to sit and read or work quietly on a laptop. The new space at the Crane House will include a reading porch where library guests can relax.  A children’s reading area will allow the library to schedule story times for the community children.

The new space will also add room for more books, Polk said. In the new facility, the library will double shelving for adult books.

Niven said once the bid is accepted, the building company should begin work within 120 days. The city plans for the new facility at the Crane House to open in late February.