GALWAY — Just days before Galway Public Library marks its 20th year of serving the community, it will break ground on a new, nearly 6,000-square-foot library.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the $2.5 million facility will take place Saturday at the library's property on East Street in the Village. The library's 20th anniversary is on Monday.
Library Manager Debra Flint said she hopes the new facility will be open by next summer.
"We love our little library, but I feel that we can serve the community better by being in a new building," she said. "We don't have a lot of gathering places, so I see it as a place for people to come and meet and gain knowledge.
"It's a traditional library, but also a community hub."
Flint said the current Galway Public Library, located at 5264 Sacandaga Road, encompasses 1,800 square feet. The new one will be 5,930-square-feet.
"We'll have a program room, multi-purpose room, children's room and teen area, and two more computers for our patrons," she said.
The Galway Library district boasts more than 7,000 residents and attracts children, adults and senior citizens, according to Flint.
"We get a lot of kids, especially with our summer reading program," she said. "We also get people who are here for the summer for [Galway Lake], as well as parents, middle-aged and older adults."
Voters approved the new library in June 2017 by a vote of 489 to 356.
A resident with a home valued at $200,000 will pay an additional $34 per year above the current library tax, which varies by township, in order to finance the 15-year bond. There is a sliding-scale tax increase or decrease for residents with homes valued less or more than $200,000.
The library's original proposal for a $3.14 million facility was shot down by voters in September 2015 -- in a vote of 449 to 396. The earlier plans called for a 7,500-square-foot facility.
Flint said she's looking forward to the additional space, once the new Galway Public Library opens.
"I'm excited, because we'll be able to serve our patrons much more effectively," she said. "They'll be able to find things more easily, and we'll be able to hold more community programs that we can't do now."
Flint said she'd like to host concerts by local musicians and apply for grants in order to host musicians from other areas.
She added that the library's Board of Directors is considering whether to sell the old building, once the new building opens.
Mary Cuffe Perez, who has volunteered at the library for the past 20 years, agreed with Flint, that the library serves as a community center.
"There's no other place for free programming for kids and adults," she said. "It's the heart of the community."
Cuffe Perez said she anticipates the new library will have a significant impact on the area.
"I think it'll draw new people who couldn't come to the library before because it's so tiny," she said. "I also think we'll be able to host more outside writers and artists for new programs.
"It opens up the possibilities in Galway."
Earlier this month, Board President Arlene Rhodes signed four construction contracts for the facility.
The general construction bid was awarded to Hoosick Valley Contractors Inc., of Melrose, the plumbing bid was awarded to Burniche Piping Inc., of Waterford, the mechanical bid to Collins Mechanical, of Stillwater, and the electrical bid to Current Electrical System Inc., of Glenville.
Saturday's groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 1 p.m.