If you’ve ever needed to use the elevator at the Riverside Public Library, you know it’s not easy to find. You have to walk past the circulation desk, hang a quick right into a hallway and then a left into another hallway.
People who aren’t sure exactly where to go can also end up wandering into an office area behind the circulation desk. In addition to not being the most secure setup, when you add a wheelchair to the mix, it’s far from ideal.
But library officials have come up with a plan to provide a more direct route to the building and the Friends of the Library are in the midst of a fundraising effort to defray what is estimated to be a project that will end up costing about $17,000 when it’s all said and done.
“It’s not an intense construction project,” said Library Director Janice Foley.
The fundraiser takes its cue from the library’s summer reading program theme, which is “Reading by Design.” Library patrons and families can “buy” a big Lego block and add it to the tower that’s beginning to take shape atop a table in front of the area where the new access way will be built.
Big blocks are $10 and smaller ones cost $5. Both can be personalized with family names or short messages. You can buy your block by inquiring at the library’s circulation desk.
As of late last week, more than a dozen blocks had been purchased, but the fundraising activity will continue throughout the rest of the summer, said Foley.
“We’re hoping by the fall the Friends will have enough to start a portion of the work,” she said.
The project calls for direct entry through a wall in the library’s “movie” room. The plan would necessitate the removal of a stained-glass window and will also allow the circulation desk to be extended to include an ADA-accessible section and the installation of a door to keep patrons from wandering back into the staff area.
According to Foley, the stained-glass window is from the original children’s area in 1930 and it will be incorporated into the current children’s area in the lower level as part of a large-scale redevelopment of that space. Those plans are expected to be announced in September, Foley said.
The extension of the circulation desk will also incorporate other original library furniture and the door, which has been in storage and will be used to close the side entrance to the circulation desk, matches one of the original main entrance doors.
“We are very committed to keeping the main level as original as possible,” Foley said.
The “book sale” section — essentially a couple of shelving units holding volumes the library has for sale — will be moved from behind the circulation desk to a storage closet off the Great Room near the library entrance.