A more than $200,000 renovation of the entrance to the Shelter Island Library has been completed with the goal of making the facility more welcoming and accessible to patrons.
Included in the project are new push-button doors for easy access for people using wheelchairs, a ramp compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a portico for protection from inclement weather, and an energy-saving double-doored vestibule.
Library director Terry Lucas said the cost of the renovations was about $234,000, and was paid for with reserve money from the library’s capital fund and $50,000 received from the New York State Education Building Grant Fund.
Work on the project started in June and was completed last month. The library remained opened as the work was being done.
“One of our main goals was to get an ADA-compliant ramp — the old ramp was beginning to kind of crumble away a bit,” Lucas said. “It also has a nice railing so people in wheelchairs or walkers or moms with baby strollers have an easier way to get into the library.”
Another concern with the former entryway to the North Ferry Road facility was the old wood door setup, Lucas said. The library was built in the 1960s.
“The old front door was solid wood and had no windows,” Lucas said. “Cold air and leaves would blow in in the winter, and in the summer, you lost all the air conditioning. The new double doors will keep the heat and air conditioning in.”
The newly added vestibule also enhances the comfort of the library, Lucas added.
“A lot of children use the library and before they were standing on a porch to wait for their parents to pick them up, now they have a safe, inside place to stand and look out the windows for their parents,” Lucas said. “And it’s so nice to have all that light [from the new windows].”
Lucas said the changes have transformed the look of the library by making it a much more attractive building that the community can be proud of.
“It’s pretty and it gives the library a beautiful face,” Lucas said.
Friends of the Library donated a bulletin board for the posting of community announcements as well as a flag and flagpole that Lucas said “makes the library look more like a library.”
Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty said the library is very important to the small Shelter Island community since it is regularly used by patrons of all ages.
“The older folks like to read there and it’s virtually across the street from the school and youth center, so the kids pour in there and socialize and have a great time,” Dougherty said. “The volunteers and staff at the library have done a wonderful job over the years in making it a community resource where many people have spent many happy hours.”