Library to continue fundraising, fight for ARPA funding
The Wheeler Memorial Library’s trustees and building committee members are determined not to give up hope after voters rejected a debt-exclusion override for the building’s first major renovation since its 1914 construction.
It was decided at a joint meeting on Thursday that the library will continue in-house fundraising and raffles until Director Jessica Magelaner learns if the town will receive American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money, which would make a big impact on any decision the trustees make in regards to renovations or finding a new spot for the library. Residents voted 1,291-1,233 last week against borrowing up to $10.4 million to supplement a $5.2 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
The library at 49 East Main St. is falling into disrepair, officials say. At a presentation at Town Hall on Nov. 1, Magelaner said the building’s basement — where the children’s section is — has extremely poor ventilation and relies almost entirely on ceiling fans and a dehumidifier. The library is also in desperate need of a new roof, as the current one regularly leaks, and the building has no dedicated staff space and just one small bathroom. The facility is also not wheelchair-accessible.
“We’ve been trying to renovate the Wheeler since 1988,” Magelaner reminded the trustees and Library Building Committee members at Thursday’s meeting.
Posted: to Orange Public Library News on Mon, Nov 28, 2022
Updated: Mon, Nov 28, 2022