The first phase of the $3.05 million renovation of the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, the historic and upstairs portion of the building, is almost complete.
“This piece will be open in January or early February. It will move the staff offices to the historic back of the building and turn the upstairs into staff workspace,” said Katie Huffman, the library director.
The upstairs of the library has not been in use since before Huffman took on the job of director of the library. Previously, the space was used by the Old Lyme Historical Society, but more recently has remained unused due to a lack of a functioning elevator. Without a means for wheelchair-bound guests to reach the second floor, using the space would be non-compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Installing an elevator is not economically feasible, Huffman said, but the space will be put to good use by the staff.
“It will be a work space for planning and projects and our break room,” Huffman said. “Now at least we will be putting it to use.”
The previous downstairs break room will be turned into a conference room available to all town residents.
The next phase of the construction will open up the front atrium and current staff rooms of the library providing more room for work space and book displays. In addition, the renovation will expand the children’s room to include a designated story time area and a separate young adults’ room, Huffman said. The third phase will renovate the main area, adding two additional study rooms, and several more computers, as well as one centralized information and service desk.
“What we’re really excited about is that across from the central desk there will be French doors leading out onto a raised patio,” Huffman said. “The patio will expand our reading and programming space during the summer months.”
The library will remain open throughout the entire renovation which will finish in late Spring of 2020.