Mont Vernon library moves into fundraising phase

MONT VERNON – A new Daland Memorial Library will be roughly six times the size of the current building and cost around $4 million, architects told residents who gathered at the Village School last week for a second meeting on plans for a new library on Grand Hill Road.

Architect Erin Cusker showed the gathering of about 60 people interior and exterior views of a building said to be “frugal, functional and inspiring.”

It also takes advantage of the views, architects said, supports the idea that the building is the hub of the community and balances adult and children facilities.

The design had originally placed the building behind Carleton Pond but had to be scrapped because of a large wetland. The site was shifted west, into a corn field.

Inside, the library will be warm and light-filled, said DSK Architects’ interior designer Sara DiNoto, with big windows, a two-sided fireplace and a covered porch connected to the reading room.

There would be large and small community meeting spaces, a coffee shop and a kitchen. Two young adult rooms will be positioned for good visibility and the large children’s room will have “color and whimsy and nooks and crannies.”

The building also connects to the landscape around Carleton Pond and its front lawn could be used for community events.

Summer concerts would have access to bathrooms and parking and there would be indoor space that people could count on when the weather changes, said library Director Bonnie Angulas.

The plan “corresponds to our thoughts and dreams,” said library trustee Jill Weber.

This was the second community meeting on the library. In September about 60 people, including library trustees and staff, worked with DSK Architects to come up with ideas for the new building.

There seemed to be a consensus that a community room is needed, as well as more books and a traditionally styled exterior. People said they wanted the library to become the hub of the community, take advantage of the pond and its views and have separate teen and children’s rooms.

The town is buying the 100-year-old Daland Memorial Library building on Main Street, which is very cramped, but a beloved Main Street landmark.

The town tried for 40 years of expand it, but there were several obstacles in the way, including uncertainty about the future of the Daland building. Town ownership of the lot, but not the structure, had complicated the situation. Then in March voters approved several warrant articles that set in motion plans to build a new library on town-owned land on Grand Hill Road, above Carleton Pond.

Now that there is a schematic design, fundraising can begin to fill in the gap between the money they have and the money they need and a professional fundraiser will be hired.

Peter King, a member of the Daland Trust, told the group not to worry – the fundraiser will not be phoning Mont Vernon residents, but instead will find people who are looking for places to donate their money.

Residents seemed pleased with the plan but some had concerns about the book collection and the stacks.

The new library would allow for a 30 percent growth in the collection, “realistic growth for our small library,” Angulas said, and the current collection would be weeded.

Friends of the Library are donating the circulation desk.

“We’re not starting from zero,” said Cindy Raspiller, chairwoman of the library building committee.

‘A happy idea’

MONT VERNON – Only 18 mourners were present when Sophia G. Daland was laid to rest in her family plot in the Mont Vernon cemetery in 1899. Few realized what an impact she would eventually have on her town.

But one of that few must have been her lawyer, William H. Conant, who had encouraged her to leave her estate to build a public library in Mont Vernon – not only build it, but buy books to fill it and to maintain it forever.

That was “a happy idea,” according to “Persistence & Progress: A History of the Daland Memorial Library,” published by Friends of the Daland Library in 1992.

Daland’s modest bequest was $9,298, and the building reportedly cost around $5,000. What was left has maintained the old public library building on Main Street over the past century while growing to almost $2 million, said Daland trustee Peter King, during the library planning meeting last week, and the Daland Trust is donating $750,000. The new library, now in the planning and fundraising stages, is expected to be built on Grand Hill Road on land purchased by the town in 1997.

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