Ballston Spa

Ballston Spa library raising funds for renovations

Ballston Spa Public Library Director Andrea Simmons at the library recently.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Ballston Spa Public Library Director Andrea Simmons at the library recently.

BALLSTON SPA — Library Clerk Mary Ann Manning assembles little bags with arts and crafts items for upcoming programs at the Ballston Spa Library using whatever free space she can find in the small building. 

Just the thought of a dedicated space to store and assemble the supplies delights her.

“Having an area would help a lot,” she said Wednesday.

Both the library and its fundraising arm, Friends of the Ballston Spa Public Library, are trying to make that space a reality through their latest campaign, “Funding Our Future: Brick by Brick and Book by Book,” which aims to raise $750,000 to renovate the facility. According to Library Director Andrea Simmons, that money would cover the costs of completing Phases 1A and 1B of the renovation and expansion project. 

Simmons said the library has also applied for a total of $450,000 in grants: one through New York Forward and the other from the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust. 

Work in phases 1A and 1B includes some facade updates and the construction of a two-story addition that would feature a reading room upstairs and a climate-controlled room for historical documents downstairs. While the library currently has a dedicated history room, it isn’t climate controlled.

“We have one-of-a-kind things that are starting to crumble,” Simmons said. 

Funds raised or acquired through grants will also go toward improving accessibility, updating technology and making the building more energy sustainable, according to a press release issued by Friends of the Ballston Spa Public Library. 

The overall cost of the project, which includes renovations to reconfigure the inside of the building, is $3 million. 

“Just reimagining the interior of the space so there’s more small meeting rooms, there’s more efficient workspace, a newly developed children’s area and young adults — just a little bit of everything,” Simmons said. 

Anne Killian travels from Clinton, in Onieda County, every Wednesday to participate in storytime with her granddaughter at the library. She said she loves the library despite its current size. 

“It’s so small, but it has everything you could want,” she said. 

Killian said both the book selection and the people are great. 

“I think that [the renovations] would be wonderful and would enhance it, but I also think that they really do such an amazing job with the space they have,” Killian said. 

Simmons said library officials are continuing to seek other grant opportunities to support the project. 

“Our big goal is to not burden the taxpayers,” she said.

There is a jar in the library where patrons can make a donation to the project. Or, they can send a check, made out to Friends of the Ballston Spa Public Library, to 21 Milton Ave., Ballston Spa, NY 12020, to the organization’s attention .

Simmons said library officials are working to establish a way to donate via the library’s website as well. 

 

Categories: News, News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs

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