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Scarsdale May Soon See 'Entirely New' Public Library

The view from Post Road presents a gracious combination of old and new at the Scarsdale Public Library. Photo Credit: Scarsdale Public Library
The proposal for a complete overhaul of the Scarsdale Public Library. Photo Credit: Scarsdale Public Library
The new plans will make the most of the library's park-like setting in Scarsdale. Photo Credit: Scarsdale Public Library
From the cozy window seat to the playful book maze, the expanded children's wing inspires curiosity and a love of reading in Scarsdale. Photo Credit: Scarsdale Public Library

SCARSDALE, N.Y. - After months of planning, discussion and public meetings, officials with the Scarsdale Public Library have unveiled their plans for a sweeping renovation that will make the popular location a hot-spot destination in the village.

Each year, the library welcomes hundreds of thousands of Scarsdale visitors, who use the facility for a variety of reasons. According to Library Director Elizabeth Bermel, as it is currently constituted, the library cannot properly accommodate the needs of every patron.

The plan to renovate the library began in 2012, when a survey was conducted to gauge community needs and interests, and according to organizers of the renovation, one message was clear: “Scarsdale values excellence in education and lifelong learning.”

Following that survey, a plan began to take shape, which was fully unveiled at a lavish reception at the library last week. The renovation would include a “dramatic increase of public space,” community meeting rooms, places to study in small groups, and a quiet reading area.

Additionally, a café and lobby with seating would be installed, complete with a technology suite and business center. There will be a gallery overlooking the pond, expanded children’s wing and an outdoor reading deck, making the library a place suitable for every member of the village.

In addition to making the library a more desirable destination for village residents, there will also be improvements made to the infrastructure of the building.

Aside from the new amenities, if the plan is undertaken, there will be a slate roof replacement, an elevator for multi-level access and wheelchair and family-friendly restrooms. There will also be a powerful generator installed, which will help the entire community in the event of another catastrophic storm.

In total, the expansive project is estimated to cost more than $18 million, with additional funding needed to set up a temporary library at Supply Field while work is ongoing. The Library Campaign for Excellence Committee – the group spearheading the radical renovation plan – is seeking to raise approximately $8 million in private funds, with the balance coming from the village.

“The library our architects are designing will recast nearly every square foot of interior space, opening the building’s vistas onto our beautiful park-like setting,” they noted in a joint statement. “From a welcoming new lobby to a reconfigured reading room; from a dramatic expansion of the children’s and teens’ wing to a clever reconfiguration of the auditorium to allow for multiple programs at once.

“The library will feel entirely new. The architects’’ approach came from this important realization: libraries today are no longer places of ‘shhhh,’ they are places of community and communication.”

Those interested in learning more about the library of the future can review plans and a 3-D model that is on display in the Reference Room. There will also be an informational presentation by Library Board President Terri Simon and Library Director Beth Bermel at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the Scott Room.

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