WHY IS THE LIBRARY LEAVING 400 STATE STREET?
There is no way we can afford to stay in the building at 400 State Street. It would cost millions of dollars just to bring the building up to acceptable, and in some cases, legally required safety, environmental and accessibility standards, a gargantuan project, outside the realm of possibility. That is not feasible in our community. The burden of keeping up with the extraordinary needs of 400 State Street restricts the Library’s ability to fulfill its mission to the communities of Hudson, Greenport and Stockport.
While the Library has been at 400 State Street for over 50 years, until 2005 the Library was a tenant of the School District and had no responsibility for the building, financial or otherwise. The Hudson Area Library is a private library and not a municipal library. As such we are not owned nor maintained by any government entity, nor does any government agency have that responsibility. While the taxpayers of Hudson voted to increase annual funding for the Library to $120,000 in 2009, these monies were to be used for operating expenses and not for restoration of the building. The vote in Greenport, which failed by six votes, would have provided for an annual contribution of $16,500 instead of the $5,500 currently received. We believe that both taxpayers’ and donors’ money is better spent on programming than maintaining any building, old or new.
WHERE IS THE LIBRARY RELOCATING?
In late 2014, the Library will move two blocks up State Street to the corner of North Fifth Street and State Street, to occupy the majority of the Hudson Armory, owned by The Galvan Foundation. Inside the building, we will occupy approximately 11,000 sq. ft. of space, including the Drill Shed. The former area occupied by the antiques bazaar will be re-purposed as a flexible, open-floorplan library. Our space also includes the 1,200 sq. ft. Officers Lounge, which will become a Community Meeting Room seating over 80. Though the Community Room will be predominantly used for library programs, we will make it available to others during and after Library hours. The History Room will be housed in the large turret at he southwest corner of the Armory building. Classrooms and library administrative offices, all walled in glass, will be located on the mezzanine. Facing our new entrance on State Street will be a large plaza, with a stone surface, shade trees, benches, chairs and tables, bluestone “seating steps” and grass where people can sit and read.
WHAT WILL THE LIBRARY HAVE TO PAY FOR IN ITS NEW LOCATION?
As a joint project, the Galvan Foundation has committed millions for the renovations of the Armory. The Library is responsible for the furniture, fixtures, and equipment to bring the new space to life as a 21st century library. The cost assumed by the Library for this work is approximately $1.4 million. The Galvan Foundation has generously offered the Library a 30-year lease of $1/month. The new library will be constructed in keeping with the historical character of the building, blending historic elements with the latest technology, including an HVAC system that is both cost-effective to install, maintain and run. Heating and cooling the new building will not add significantly to our current annual operating costs of $200,000; however, additional staff, longer opening hours and expanded programs and services will.
HOW WILL THE NEW LIBRARY BE DIFFERENT?
The residents of Hudson, Greenport and Stockport finally will have the library they need and deserve, with state-of-the art technology, expanded programs and services for children and adults, increased operating hours, a larger collection, an accessible home for our historical collection, a beautiful outdoor space and an open plan layout inside with access to free wi-fi everywhere. The new library will become community’s living room. The Community Room will be the stage for world renowned and local authors, artists, performers and musicians to engage diverse communities in Hudson, bringing us together under one intellectual, civic roof. The possibilities for programs and partnerships are endless.
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE LIBRARY TO THE HUDSON/GREENPORT/STOCKPORT COMMUNITY?
In a community such as ours, the Library is a unique and vital source of personal, intellectual and economic empowerment. Not only do we provide free access to computers and the internet, which many in our community lack, we also have robust, multi-lingual training and education programs targeted at current and recent immigrant residents. Our year-round children’s educational programming is a vital source of intellectual engagement and entertainment for children and youth of all ages seeking a safe and welcoming place to play, learn, relax and grow. The new Library will provide the kind of intellectual home our community needs, an institution that will benefit us personally and collectively. It will be a place we all can use, and of which we all can be proud.
DO WE STILL NEED LIBRARIES?
Yes! All over America, libraries are being re-born in the technology age as community centers, nonpartisan places where people from all walks of life can connect, engage, work, learn and be entertained. According to a recent Pew survey, more than a quarter of all adults used the Internet at a library during the past year. Users of public library Internet connections tell surveyors that they’re applying for jobs, doing homework, getting information about health care, finding out about government benefits and managing their finances. And because almost a third of Americans don’t subscribe to our country’s expensive Internet access at home, librarians say that they’re scrambling to fill the gap left by our nation’s yawning digital divide.
The rumors that the Internet killed the public library were premature. Newly reconceived and renovated libraries are seeing their usage skyrocket, in addition to attracting more volunteers and donors, whose gifts of time and money offset increased operating expenses. This is a well-documented phenomenon that will repeat itself when the Hudson Area Library opens the doors to what will be one of the most spectacular community buildings in the ever-evolving City of Hudson area.
We are proud to report that over the past several years, more and more people are using the Library with an over 10% increase in the circulation of materials over the last year and this trend only will continue in our new home.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE BUILDING AT 400 STATE STREET?
In September 2011, 400 State Street was sold for $476,500 to The Galvan Foundation. After closing costs, and payment of a $300,000 mortgage obligation to a Hudson city agency, the Library’s net proceeds from the sale approximated $147,000. These proceeds will be used to partially cover our costs in outfitting the new space. When the Library moves to its new location, the building at 400 State Street will house the offices of the Galvan Foundation.
WHAT IS THE GALVAN FOUNDATION?
Galvan Charitable Trust and Galvan Initiatives Foundation, established by T. Eric Galloway and Henry van Ameringen, is our partner in the adaptive reuse of the Armory as the Hudson Area Library. Founded in January 2012, its mission is to improve and enhance the quality of life for all Hudson residents, especially those most vulnerable or economically disadvantaged. The Foundation operates a grant making program providing financial support to charitable organizations operating in the City of Hudson.
The Foundation also uses architectural preservation and conservation to participate in and encourage initiatives that strengthen the social fabric of the City of Hudson by promoting the provision of affordable housing, social services, cultural activities and economic opportunity for residents of Hudson. For more information, visit GalvanFoundation.org.
WHO IS DESIGNING THE NEW LIBRARY?
The Hudson Area Library and the Galvan Foundation selected Vincent Benic Architect (VBA) to design the new Library in the Drill Shed of the Armory, located at North 5th St. and State Streets in Hudson. VBA, based in New York City, was founded in 1993 and specializes in architectural and planning services for institutional, educational and ecclesiastical projects. The firm has completed over fifteen library projects, many of which include the adaptive reuse and preservation of historic structures. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in all phases of architecture as well as extensive work in creating 21st century library facilities. For more information, visit vbarch.com.