Bosler Memorial Library announces $6.5 million expansion project

Although the Bosler Library technically sits across the street from the West Side Neighbors borders, I wanted to highlight this story because I think it is simply grand that the library will be getting a huge upgrade in a few years.  I think any improvements to the general area makes the west side a  more attractive place to live.

From the Sentinel:

With a stack of three books under her arm, Tiffany Smith was just getting acquainted with Bosler Memorial Library.

“I read a lot,” she said after selecting a few books, explaining why she sought out the library after recently moving to the area from North Carolina.

If fundraising goes according to plan, the Bosler where she checked out books Thursday may have a completely different look in a few years.

Library officials announced that a capital campaign will be launched next year to build a two-story addition and to renovate the existing library.

Dubbed “Building a Better Bosler,” the capital campaign will kick off in the spring with the goal of raising funds to cover the $6.5 million project.

Roughly $1.2 million has already been raised, said Jeff Wood, president of the library’s board of trustees, and the library is getting help from the state. The library has received a $2.5 million grant from the state for the project. That leaves roughly $2.8 million to be raised though the capital campaign.

The state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant has to be matched by the library, Wood said. RACP money is meant for regional economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects.

Construction, which will double the library’s floor space to 38,000 square feet and renovate the existing building, is slated to be finished by 2013, Wood said.

The library will remain open throughout the work.

“We will work in phases,” he said.

Of the $6.5 million destined for the project, $500,000 will be used on furnishings.

Increased usage

The reasoning behind the project is simple, Wood said. The library has witnessed increased usage and space is limited. On average, 936 people use the library daily and check out 512,523 items per year, he added.

Bosler is the busiest library in the Cumberland County Library System and the county system is the busiest in the state on a per capita basis.

“We have outgrown our current space,” Wood said.

Plans call for the two-story addition to be built to the rear of its 158 W. High St. location.

What is currently a driveway that connects South West Street with the library’s parking lot will be built over, as will part of the parking lot.

In September, borough council sent a letter of agreement to Bosler for the creation of 50 to 100 off-street parking spaces. The new parking lot would be open to anyone, not just library patrons, and a location has not yet been selected.

Construction will include a facade facelift to the 1987 two-story addition, Wood said. The original library was built in 1899 and is still in use.

The facelift will keep the building in tune with nearby buildings style-wise with its soon-to-be brick exterior.

Though the new facade will replicate the style of a 19th century building, a wall of windows on the corner of West and Hanover streets overlooking Dickinson College will add a modern feel.

The Silver Spring Township-based R.S. Mowery & Sons handled the design work.

‘Keep operations here’

As part of project, The Bookery, a shop behind the library that contains donated books that are then sold to benefit Bosler, will be moved to inside the library.

The main entrance to The Bookery will be through the currently rarely used main doors of the 1899 building.

In the two-story addition, the children’s wing will be expanded and a new teen room will be added.

The library last saw construction work in 1993 when the second floor of the 1987 addition was finished.

Though the library is expanding, that doesn’t mean staff sizes will increase significantly, said Director Linda Rice.

Currently, the library employs 37 people, seven of which are full-time. One custodian will be added once construction is completed, she said.

Previously, library officials had considered finding a location outside the borough to build a library. However, Wood said, it would have been difficult to leave Carlisle.

“But we decided that, not only for sentimental and emotional reasons… to keep operations here,” he said.

Read full article here