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February 13. 2013 11:00PM

Peterborough forum will focus on services, programs residents want at the library


The poorly designed 1978 addition to the Peterborough Town Library has several issues from water damage caused by the design of the roof to a crack in its one of the precast concrete floor planks that would be addressed in the proposed building renovation. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)

PETERBOROUGH - The town library will hold a forum Saturday at the Peterborough Historical Society to start the planning process for the renovation that is expected to be completed in 2017.

The forum will not focus on the renovation, but what is driving it, public need for library programs and services.

"We really don't want to talk about the building. We really want to talk about what you want to do in the library," said Tina Kriebel, a member of the 1833 Society.

The library was established in 1833 and is the oldest free public library supported by taxation in the world. Plans to fix layout and space issues, repair and renovate the 1978 addition, make the building compliant with the American with Disabilities Act and make it more energy efficient are a decade old. The 1833 Society is a 501©3 established by the library trustees in 2011 after efforts to gain Town Meeting support for a renovation failed.

"The purpose of the forum is to have the public to tell us what they would like in the library of the future in the ways of services and programs," said David Simpson, one of two library trustees who are also 1833 Society members.

"This is most definitely not a discussion of what the building is going to look like or the square footage or anything like that. This is what is going on inside the building," he said.

Kriebel said a feasibility study that is running concurrently with the needs determination study, which would also help the 1833 Society determine the project cost. A private capital campaign to fund the project is planned to launch later this year, Kriebel said.

Kriebel said studies and visits to other libraries have already informed the library trustees and 1833 Society members that creating a flexible and dynamic space is vital for a library building that would serve the town for the next 50 years.

Anticipating the next step in technology is not as important as a flexible layout, she said.

"If we had built a library 10 years ago, we probably would have put in a large computer bank with lots of desktops, and now that's not appropriate," Kriebel said.

The library must remain a center for information and a place where the community can come together, Simpson said.

The forum begins at 9 a.m. in Bass Hall of the Historical Society. The hall opens at 8:30 a.m. for registration and free coffee and pastries. Lunch will be provided at noon, and the forum concludes at 2 p.m.

Registration is not required, but appreciated for planning purposes. You can register at the library, by phone 924-8040, or email library@townofpeterborough.us.

UNH Cooperative Extension in partnership with the Peterborough Town Library are running the forum.

mpierce@newstote.com


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