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Town and Village

Guilford to consider $1.2 million library expansion

Separate activity center for kids planned with access to outdoors; voters to address the issue at Town Meeting in March

GUILFORD—The Guilford Free Library invites all residents to participate in an informational meeting about the upcoming expansion of the library building. The meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2, is available on Zoom. A link to the meeting will be published in the library newsletter and Front Porch Forum in advance of the meeting.

Members of the building committee will be present in addition to representatives of Goldstone Architecture of Bennington, who will show and discuss their plans and give residents an opportunity to ask questions. The meeting will be hosted by Guilford town administrator Peder Rude.

According to a news release, the preliminary design is for a two-story addition that will double the current footprint of the library. Plans call for the existing space to house the adult collection and serve as a reading room; the top floor of the addition to be a new children’s space; and the bottom floor, not only for library use, but for all kinds of programming from community groups.

There will be a separate entrance to the bottom floor, so it can be used independently of regular library hours. The plan also includes an elevator, new bathroom, and kitchenette.

The library has been a critical part of the town since it opened its doors in 1892, expanding to serve thousands of residents over the years. As it has grown in importance in terms of programs, collections, and technology, library staff say that the original building must grow to accommodate the needs of this century.

“Input from the residents who use the library is a critical part of the process,” said Guilford librarian Cathi Wilken. “We have carefully put together a plan that reflects the direction we anticipate moving in the future, but it can only be strengthened with help from the people who use the library.”

According to Richard Wizansky, a member of the library board and the Guilford Selectboard, the financing for the addition is included in the town’s capital improvement plan and is a combination of state and federal grants, as well as estate bequests. A fundraising drive will also begin this spring, with plans to start building in 2023.

The Selectboard has approved a resolution to bond $205,000 for the library expansion to be included as an article for the 2022 Annual Town Meeting, to be voted on by Australian ballot.

For more information, contact the library at 802-257-4603 or staff@guilfordfreelibraryvt.org.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #650 (Wednesday, February 9, 2022).

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