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The trustees are hoping to have the archival room ready before winter.

North Adams Historical Society Waiting on Library Room Renovation

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The library trustees will reach out to the city about the delayed renovation of the Historical Society's archive rooms.
 
Trustee Ely Janis asked Chairwoman Robin Martin last week if there had been any progress on the third-floor archival room and Martin said both the mayor and the Building Department have been silent.
 
"I have gotten no response," Martin said. 
 
The Historical Society recently moved its museum from Western Gateway Heritage State Park to the first-floor of the Holiday Inn. Because this space is smaller, the entire collection could not be moved.
 
The plan was to place these archives on the third floor of the library in the former butler quarters.
 
The Historical Society, in conjunction with the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, secured $10,000 to renovate the room to make them more appropriate for storage. Janis said they have been in limbo since June.
 
Janis said there is some urgency in the matter because the material is still being stored at Heritage State Park, where there is no heat and many leaks. He said the material really should be moved before winter.
 
"I don't know how to break the log jam," Janis said. "We have the money and we are ready to go. We are trying to preserve this local heritage and it may be fine for now but they need to get out of that space ... I am not sure what to do at this point."
 
The trustees decided to reach out to the city again to see what the hold up is. Martin suspected that the city wants to do the project in house but employees are just too busy at the moment.
 
Trustee Tara Jacobs said the trustees should offer to take the lead on the project to move it along.
 
In other business, the trustees have consulted with an electrician about the installation of a light in the belvedere in memory of the late State Rep. Gail Cariddi.
 
Martin said the electrician nixed the idea of a solar light because they are just not bright enough but said a light that can be seen from all angles that can change color is possible.
 
Martin said the electrician will come back with options and prices.
 
Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo said because the library is again not meeting funding standards they have applied for a waiver.
 
"We are filed for this year it was last minute but we are in," she said.
 
Municipalities that do not properly fund their libraries relative to their budget have to apply for a waiver to continue to receive state aid and access to programs such as CWMars.
 
Sanfilippo said the city has made an effort to increase funding over the years but they are still not funding the library at 1 percent of the city’s budget.
 
Martin said she was confident that the library would be awarded the waiver as they have in years past and added that the state also plans to phase out the current waiver system.
 
However, the trustees still felt it was important to advocate for the library and inform the city and public what is at stake if the library does not receive accreditation.
 
"It is worth understanding all of the nuances of this to prepare as strong of a case as we can," Jacobs said. "This is an asset to the city that serves in many ways and the stronger a case we can make both on the municipal side and the community side the better."
 

Tags: historical society,   NAPL,   

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Retired North Adams Librarian Pens Book About Renovation

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The story of the modernization and expansion of the historic North Adams Public Library has been written by the library director who the led the project. 
 
"Preserving a Legacy: Building for the Future" was recently self-published by Marcia Gross, who was head of the library for the first decade of the century. 
 
"She was so heavily involved in the planning for the library and donated a substantial part of her professional life to the renovation and expansion," Richard Markham, former library trustee, said. "I think she wanted to tell that story."
 
Markham helped Gross with the book and is doing the marketing and press for her.
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