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Claverack takes first steps to new building


CLAVERACK—The first significant phase of renovations to create a new library and community center for the town is complete, with a new roof and clerestory to harvest natural light.

The renovations are being made on the former home of the A.B. Shaw Fire Company, which moved east to newly built larger quarters on Route 23. The library purchased the fire company’s building on Route 9H, around the corner from the Route 23B home of the current library.

Combined corporate, foundation and individual donations, and construction grants from the state Division of Library Development, continue to come in and will cover the next phase of construction, planned to commence next summer. This phase includes the addition of an elevator and new rest room to make the building fully handicapped accessible; new electrical service; and improvements to the building envelope with new entry vestibules on two levels. Energy-efficient bay windows on Route 9H will bring in more light and create pleasant places for patrons to read, chat or access the Internet.

“Our plan is to have funding in place before beginning each phase,” said Susan Roberts, the library’s treasurer, in a press release.

Board president Jenny Post thanked Michael Nyerges and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich of the Mid-Hudson Library System for their advocacy. Another big part of the new library’s team are its architects, Paul Mays, Steven Rowland and Lisa Hayes of Butler Rowland Mays Architects in Ballston Spa. They just received the 2012 New York Library Association’s Renovation and Restoration Building of the Year Award for their design of the Saugerties Public Library.

The need for a larger Claverack Library has been evident since 2004, when the trustees recognized that combined increases in patron visits and program attendance began to stretch the 1,400-square-foot library beyond its capacity. Much of the library’s free programming must be held off-site, library staff has no workspace and computer access for patrons is limited.

In addition to maintaining the traditional service of lending books, the library now provides free electronic content such as DVDs and e-books, offers resources for workforce development, promotes digital literacy through free classes and tutoring, offers shared learning space and serves as a sanctuary for people of all ages to join in common interests and intellectual pursuits.

With nearly seven times the space of the current library, the new building will allow for more diverse programs for all ages, including history lectures, readings, concerts, art exhibitions, cultural exchanges, shared community meeting space and more.

The was founded in 1829 by 24 prominent citizens, according to Ms. Post, who said in the release the library is now asking supporters and leaders in the area be part of what she called “this transformative new library and community center.

To learn more, call the Claverack Free Library, 518 851-7120, or visit



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