Despite delays, Christmas may come a little early for the residents of Bridgehampton.
Hampton Library Director Susan LaVista said this week it is her goal to reopen the historic Bridgehampton library on Tuesday, December 22. The library has been shuttered for a year and a half now while undergoing an ambitious renovation and 4300 square foot expansion approved by the town in September of 2008,
“I really want to be open by Christmas,” said LaVista.
Two months later than officials hoped the project would be completed, LaVista said the library decided it was best to not rush, instead allowing time for finishing touches – shelving, cabinetry, staining floors, furniture delivery, installing bathroom fixtures – rather than pushing to open the doors of the new space.
“We want the job finished right,” she said. “I think it will be work, but I think we can open by the holidays.”
LaVista and her staff locked the doors at the 130-year-old, Main Street building in August of 2007, moving into the old Marders’ building on Main Street. The Town of Southampton, which purchased the building in 2003 with Community Preservation Fund monies, struck a deal with the library allowing them to lease the building for two years provided they renovate the structure.
“It has been nice for patrons, although a little tight for the staff,” said LaVista. “We are really happy to see the place renovated.”
Hampton Library spent over $200,000 on the renovation of the Marders’ building in order to make the space an appropriate, temporary facility. Originally projecting an opening for their new 11,000 square-foot, energy efficient space in the spring of 2010, most recently the board hoped for a fall debut of the new Hampton Library. Now in the final stages of construction, LaVista said the decision to open will lay in the hands of fire marshals and building inspectors who will need to give the library their final seal of approval.
LaVista said this week the Hampton Library would close its regular services at the Marders’ building on Wednesday, December 9, although the library would continue scheduled programming at the site. After December 9, LaVista said patrons can return any borrowed library books to any Suffolk County library. Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library and Southampton’s Rogers Memorial Library have also offered their services to Hampton Library patrons until the move is completed.
“Technically, you can go to any library in the county to return or pick up books,” said LaVista. “But they really have both been wonderful.”
“I feel like I am on a rollercoaster picking up speed,” she continued. “I cannot believe we are really ready to move in.”
The library has already begun sending books over from the Marders’ building, she said, noting a lot of the fiction and non-fiction is already in the renovated library.
“We still have the new books here, the media, and of course, the childrens’ books and the young adult collection is still here,” said LaVista.
While the library will open by the end of the year, LaVista said she planned to host the official grand opening party in February, after she could be assured the “kinks were worked out.”
“We will get through the holiday season, work on our punch list and by the time the last few things have been settled out, we will be ready to have a true celebration,” said LaVista.