A new look for an old favorite: Grant approval opens the doors for library renovations

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Memorial Library has begun planning for new renovations they hope to start in March of this year.

Partnering with the Punxsy Borough Council, the library applied for the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund Grant Program for Public Library Facilities.

On Feb. 16, the facility was approved for the grant — in the amount of $60,000 — and the plans are now being put together.

The cost for construction is anticipated to come in at around $120,000, so the grant is essential in successfully completing the renovation.

For the other $60,000 to afford the rest of the project, the library is working on seeking donors and following other means to raise the funding.

The staff is currently working with KTH Architects from DuBois, which has designed the floor plans.

The renovation will bring some positive changes to the library by adding more room, not only for the library's patrons, but also for its staff.

It will also make the library more accessible and more energy-efficient.

The main area that is set to receive a whole new look is the front end of the library, which will be expanded from the front entrance to the reading area.

Renovations will start at the vestibule, with the entrance doors being replaced with more energy-efficient ones.

According to Coral Ellshoff, library director, the current doors have caused an inconvenience by allowing cold air to come in.

One of the major plans for the renovation is to build a new meeting room.

"We saw the need for a bigger meeting room," said Ellshoff, adding that the current meeting room fits only seven people, while the new meeting room will be able to seat at least 30 people.

Currently, there is no meeting room that is available, and businesses and community groups have been having trouble reserving the current one.
The new room will be more readily available and will also include a kitchenette.

As for the staff, it will have a much larger customer service area. This will allow team members to be more visible to patrons, and the new layout will include a low counter area for children and those who are handicapped.

It will also include desk space for staff members so that they will be out in the open and more able to assist patrons.

"Visibility is a factor," said Ellshoff.

Entrance doors won't be the only doors to get a makeover. The plan is to replace all of the current doors with either full glass ones, or at least ones with windows in them.

The area in which the staff offices currently are will soon become a quiet study area that will be accessible from the reading area, and given its location, it can be supervised by staff members.

Lighting in the library will also be replaced with more energy-efficient lights. Ellshoff also hopes to raise money in order to purchase new library furniture.

Upon completion of the project, the library will recognize its individual donors by the creation of a life-sized "Giving Vine Mural," to be done by Robin McIlvaine.

The mural will be painted on the walls of the new meeting room with recognition being given as follows:

• $25-$99, donor's name on a leaf;
• $100-$499, donor's name on a flower;
• $500-$999 donor's name on a bird;
• $1,000, donor's name on bird and nest, with up to four names chosen by donor put on nest eggs.

So far, the library has 200 donors, and it is currently seeking more to help complete funding for the renovation project.

The renovation floor plan is currently on display at the library, located at 301 East Mahoning St.