Thursday, May 10, 2018

Designer Showcase: Library Version

Designer Showcases appear throughout New Jersey every spring.  They are major fundraisers for hospitals, The Junior League, and other worthy organizations.  Best of all, you can see beautiful furnishings, architecturally interesting buildings, and spring gardens.  Also, you can eat lunch in a big white tent.

Every designer showcase has before and during the transformation pictures in every room.  The before pictures are frequently black & white and give the impression that you will see ghosts if the light is just right.  We should have taken more before pictures to help everyone understand how much several of the spaces at 110 Roosevelt Avenue have changed.  

A prime example is Circulation, the most easily identified room inside the front door. It started as a small office with a door to the center hall and a small window where staff could talk to anyone entering the Rectory.  To become an efficient space for a public library it was necessary to move the door around to the side, enlarge the small window, and cut a new large window on the hallway.  Bits and pieces of the old upstairs and downstairs circulation desks have been cobbled together to provide workspace for staff to check books in and out.

The main hallway is wide enough to house the entire DVD collection.  Making two-sided shelving into one-sided shelving was noisy and dusty.  The new copier is also pictured.

Creating an ADA compliant bathroom involved eliminating one door, widening one door, joining back-to-back closets together, removing an old bathtub, and repositioning two new toilets and
a basin.  The size of the space and necessary requirements required creativity and careful planning as well as dealing with plumbing from the early 1960’s. 

 The final result, after the bathroom construction, included the extra bonus of a bright and comfortable newspaper/magazine room.

In several rooms, fortunately, we only needed to place the shelves and seating.  A previous conference room was easily transformed into space for fiction, romance, mysteries, and assorted tables and chairs.  The Children’s Department encompasses the back hall for J and YA books, the original dining and sitting rooms for picture books, non-fiction, easy readers, and the usual puzzles and fun stuff.  Lighting throughout the building was improved as needed.

Our goal was to transform an old convent/rectory into a welcoming and user friendly library.  This will be BHPL’s home for the foreseeable future so please come in and look around.  Sorry, we can’t offer lunch in a white tent.  
- S. Bakos