CAPITAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE:
Mark Nolan, Chair
Nancy & Jeffrey Hoffman, Honorary Chairs
John Carmon, Chair, Business Solicitations
Lisa House, Chair, Public Relations
Dick Kisiel, Chair, Civic Organizations
Don McDonald, Co-Chair, Individual Solicitations
Jerry O'Brien, Co-Chair, Individual Solicitations
Nancy Muench, Treasurer
Magda Stayton, Chair, Grants & Foundations
Mary Suter, Chair, Library Board
Virginia Vocelli, Library Director
Elaine Wilson, Coordinator
Carin Salonia, Coordinator
Paula Schwartz, Coordinator
Barbara Leonard, President, Friends of the Library
Jim & Jan Titus
From seniors to preschoolers, business people to the recently retired, The Avon Free Public Library has served all members of our community since 1798. From its location on Country Club Road, the Library nestles in the heart of our community, both literally and figuratively, standing as a hallmark of excellence and a vibrant cultural center for the Avon community. However, as the population of Avon has continued to grow, extreme pressure has been brought to bear on our precious community resource, and the library is severely over-crowded and out-of-date.
More than 700 people visit the library every day to use computers, do research, check out materials, and to attend programs, storytimes, and book discussions.
On any given day, there are not enough seats to accommodate our library patrons, be they seniors, business professionals, students, or parents with children.
Our children’s story hours have significant waiting lists, not a surprise since over 200 children a week regularly participate in storytimes and book discussions.
We receive far more applications to use the meeting rooms than we can schedule.
Our bookshelves are crowded, making it difficult for patrons to find what they want.
The Avon Public Library is the only place to serve such a diverse group of people and interests. We need your help to continue our mission as the heart of our community for information, literature, educational support, culture and the arts.
Renovation and expansion of the Library’s 25-year old building is underway, with grants and town support covering the anticipated construction costs. However, private funding of more than $500,000 is needed to equip the library with furniture, lighting, technology, and to provide enhancements to the internal space. Your support is critical to the success of this project.
Building For Our Future. A state-of-the-art building is essential to achieving our community’s vision of having a library that provides convenient and free access to information, literature, culture, and the arts through a variety of media and technologies. We also require a building with sufficient space to house our growing collection of materials and technology and to offer a variety of programs for people of all ages.
The most recent renovation in 1997 reconfigured existing space, providing a modest increase in overall square footage, from 13,500 square feet to 18,000 square feet. Now, with the addition of 21,000 square feet through the expansion, and the renovation of the present facility, the Town of Avon will have a public library that will serve as a destination and resource for generations to come.
Top 10 Growth Needs
1. Increased seating and workspace for patrons of all ages.
In the present building there are 76 seats available to the public, which is not nearly enough to accommodate everyone. The expansion will more than double the seating available to patrons. Avon residents truly love and appreciate the views through the windows and this will remain a feature of the seating areas.
The new library space will have at least two areas of comfortable seating on both floors. The children’s room will feature an area where children can read and parents can relax as their children participate in storytime or other activities. There will also be large tables on both floors with easy access to computer workstations or wireless access for laptops.
2. Increased space and ease of access for the library’s collection of books, audio-visual materials, research and information technologies and future new formats.
The plans include abundant space to showcase materials promoting cultural awareness and exposing our patrons to new knowledge streams. Non-book formats such as DVDs and CDs will be displayed on patron-friendly shelving units. Wider aisles and an open design will promote browsing, borrowing, and accessibility. New “Reference Zones” will be created to house higher-use reference books and electronic media in areas such as Business/Finance, Consumer Information, and College/Career.
3. Expanded library services for teens to support learning, information literacy and positive development.
Located centrally between the Avon Middle School and the Avon High School, the library supports their communities of more than 1,600 students. Easy access to the library encourages students to visit frequently for recreational, educational and social activities. In the past two years, the success of a program developed for teens, including the establishment of a Teen Advisory Board, has proven that a Young Adult Room can help to encourage lifelong use of the public library.
4. Increased capacity for children’s services, more room for our youngest patrons, their parents and guardians, books and materials and children’s programming.
The growing demand for programs and materials in the children’s room shows the consistent need for greater children’s services. To meet these needs, the children’s room will be doubled in size to allow for a larger book collection, more comfortable seating, an increase in quiet study areas and the ability to add to the available programs, including storytime. In this space, children and parents will have areas where they can browse, read, play and socialize. The area will hold a large playhouse depicting the “Avon Kids Market”, a miniature grocery store that will encourage imagination and enhance early learning and communication skills. A larger program room will improve not only the library’s programming capabilities but allow more local groups, such as scout troops, to take advantage of this space. New equipment will focus on different age groups, and provide age appropriate, safe and more effective use of new forms of technology.
5. Increased computer access and capabilities and improved technology.
Technology in a variety of forms is a fundamental library service. More space will allow us to increase the accessibility and variety of technology to our users. More workstations plus expanded wireless access for laptop use will be available. A separate lab with regular instructional classes will be part of the plan. New equipment such as Smartboards, TV screens and presentation technology in the Community Room will be part of the expanded library.
6. Space to accommodate historical research and the community’s precious artifacts.
Pride in the unique history of our town runs deep. The Marian Hunter History room, a joint effort of the Library and the Avon Historical Society, will be moved to the first floor, allowing for more space and improved access for Avon residents and staff. The collection articulates Avon’s rich history with photos and documents telling the story of farmers, shopkeepers, bricklayers and soldiers who were our forbearers. Its very existence serves the vision of the Library, which is to excel as the community’s link to ideas, information and resources.
7. Increased space for groups, including a larger community room, conference rooms, small group study rooms and quiet study areas.
Additional space for groups to meet and people to work together will be part of the new building. The current community room, which can accommodate 100 people, is too small and lacks presentation technology. The new community room will seat 150 with space for lectures and performances. Soundproof group rooms capable of holding up to eight people and smaller spaces for quiet study will be added.
8. Additional parking spaces and 24/7 access to book drop.
With the expanded parking lot, the amount of parking will be almost doubled. In addition, two new book drops will be created. One will be accessible from a vehicle and both will be open 24/7.
9. Improved and expanded workspace for staff, volunteers and Friends of the Library.
Office space is needed for library staff so that they may work to support all the activities for our residents. Additional space will be available for volunteers and the Friends of the Library.
10. Update the infrastructure for energy and environmental efficiency.
The aging HVAC system will be replaced with an energy efficient geo-thermal system. A sprinkler system will be installed to bring the building up to code. Security and fire alarm systems will be updated.
The Cost of Success
The estimated cost for this project is $8.5 million, with up to $7 million provided by the town for construction costs and associated architectural fees, legal and bonding fees, and site renovation. The state of Connecticut has authorized a $1 million grant for construction costs. In addition, the Library’s Board of Directors and the campaign steering committee are currently engaged in a capital campaign to raise more than $500,000. The funds raised by this campaign will equip the library with furniture, lighting, technology, and enhancements to the internal space, making the library truly exceptional.
Help us complete a library that will meet Avon’s needs today, tomorrow, and for the future. The Library Board, the Friends of the Library and the library staff invite broad-based community participation in this effort. We simply cannot do it without your help. Our success will ensure the library’s ability to continue its vital role as the center of the community, the touchstone for all residents, a public place for information, literature, educational support, culture and the arts.
The Avon Free Public Library.Part of our town, part of our life.