More than $17,000 has been secured for the creation of a Quiet Room at Baldwin Public Library — just a few weeks before voters approved an $11.6 million referendum to include the redesign and renovation of the building’s first and second floors.
Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé secured $17,322 in grant money for the room via the Community Revitalization Program. Library officials have been waiting since 2016 to receive the funding for the Quiet Room, which will provides space for residents to work, study or work with tutors.
Thus far, the library has received about half of the promised funds, officials said.
“The funding from Nassau County has enabled us to provide a quiet study space requested by the Baldwin community,” library Director Elizabeth Olesh said. “We are thankful that we have been able to meet our community’s needs in this way.”
Mulé said, “It was a pleasure to work with the Baldwin Public Library to secure resources that will help them better serve the public. I am grateful to have worked with Director Olesh to support this initiative to create this space.”
Olesh said she thought it was great that Nassau County acknowledged Baldwin and awarded the library the money for this revitalization project.
She expressed hope that the program would bring in new, younger residents, particularly since the project at the library would be able to accommodate more patrons.
“As these buildings get built, they’re going to (bring in) more people,” Olesh said.
“There are going to be more people looking for study spaces, meeting rooms, and we will want to provide more programming.”
Olesh said the Quiet Room is intended for individual study, but now that the library’s $11.6 million referendum was passed on May 16, the library will provide even more rooms serving the same purpose.
According to Olesh, the library will have more places for people to study, with much smaller rooms that will be better suited for individuals as well as smaller groups.
Most of the construction will take place on the second floor, but the first floor will also receive some renovations.
“The second floor is where we have all this raw space,” Olesh said. “So that’s where most of the construction will be happening. But on the first floor, we’re going to greatly improve the children’s room and also have some spaces for some other functions like a Baldwin history room, a social work office and a passport office.”
A room dedicated for arts and crafts would be among the plans, she said.
Also included in the referendum recently passed by voters was a larger Teen Zone, a maker space room equipped with a 3D printer, a podcast and video room, a gaming room, more comfortable seating throughout the building and the replacement of the roof and climate systems.
The last time the library saw a major building project was 20 years ago, which is why Olesh believes now is the perfect time to roll out these renovations.
Construction should be completed in about two to two-and-a-half years, library officials said.
According to the library’s website, “the first part of the process will take 10-12 months to create the construction documents and obtain all required approvals. Once all of the approvals are obtained, the library will proceed to bid the work publicly and enter the construction phase. This phase is estimated to take 14 to 16 months.”
Olesh said she has no plans to shut the library down during construction. The cost of this construction to a typical household will be $98 per year or slightly more than $8 per month.
“We’re just trying to get the library to the level of other public libraries and give Baldwin residents what they deserve,” Olesh said.