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Martinsburg, W.Va., library renovations nearly complete

July 02, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Martinsburg, W.Va. - Renovations are nearly complete at the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library, with new circulation desks in place and a handicapped-accessible elevator set to open soon.

Pamela Coyle, director of the library, said the $574,000 project should be finished later this month. Work began in January and was expected to be finished in June, but was delayed because of inspections, asbestos abatement and acquiring some equipment.

Shelving for new books and large-print books still has not arrived and some cosmetic work needs to be finished, she said.

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Study carousels were set up Thursday in alcoves on the library's second-floor, but soundproofing materials remain to be installed. Patrons are walking on new carpet and all of the library's computers, previously spread out around the first floor, have been consolidated into one space. All reference books were moved upstairs.

Six months ago, just before construction began, Coyle said she was anxious for the project to get under way. Now she's equally as anxious for the work to be finished.

"Now it's just the little piddly stuff. Like this knob doesn't work," she said, adding that minor problems can sometimes seem more irritating than large projects.

Completion of the project will represent "a blessed relief" for the library's 26 employees, Coyle said. Along with the renovation project, staff members also recently had to learn how to use a new computer system.

The library, at the corner of King and Queen streets in downtown Martinsburg, has not had a significant renovation since an addition was built in the late 1970s, Coyle said. The original building opened in 1968.

All of the work will be paid for by using a bequest made by a woman who left $500,000 to the library. Management of the fund since the bequest allows for the additional $74,000, Coyle said.

Fund-raising will be done to help replenish the account.

An invitation-only open house will be held on an upcoming Friday evening, while the general public will be invited to attend an open house on the following Saturday, Coyle said.

Exactly when the construction will be finished is not known. Coyle said she plans to meet with the project's builders today to finalize the plans.

Several people have said they like the library's custom-built main circulation desk and most other comments also have been favorable. The only complaints Coyle knows of concern days the library had to close because of construction. The library was closed for two weeks at one point and also was closed on scattered days throughout the last six months, she said.

No more construction-related closings are expected, but Coyle said the library may close for the private open house celebration.

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