Manhasset Public Library’s interior renovation begins this week

A rendering of in-construction study pods for the Manhasset Public Library. (Photo provided by MDA Designgroup)

The Manhasset Public Library said that construction on its interior renovation project began this week, adding new meeting areas, study spots and improved work spaces and capacity.

In addition to construction, the renovation includes new carpets, painting, furniture, repositioning of shelving and technology upgrades. A new designated archives office for its Local History Center will also be created, modeled to be a repository for local history and archival materials.

Elisabeth Martin, principal of MDA Designgroup, serves as architect and interior designer for the project, and the construction firm is W.J. Northridge Corp.

“The one-size-fits-all nature of the traditional public library of the past has given way to the library as the ‘go-to’ center of activity in the community, a place where barriers are dissolved and interaction is fostered,” Martin said. “Design goals focus on the user experience, welcoming users with the inviting spaces that offer choice among varied environments that serve individual tasks, multitasking and collaboration.”

The project was budgeted at approximately $1.25 million, according to Chuck Jettmar, president of the Manhasset Public Library’s Board of Trustees.

“Based upon patron comments and independent observations, the Manhasset Public Library (MPL) Board of Trustees and the Director initiated the project about two years ago to provide needed enhancements to the library building,” Jettmar said. “With the project budgeted at approximately $1.25 million, the Board intends that these benefits will be delivered to the Manhasset community in the most fiscally responsible manner, without impacting the annual operating budget.”

The first phase of the renovation, estimated to take four months, will focus on the Teen Zone and the second floor of the library. Plans call for a tech counter, booth-style seating and other multifunctional furniture that can be adapted for working collaboratively or alone.

For the second floor, the renovation will create new seating areas, including booths, lounge seating, and window seats that take advantage of the “Living Edge,” or spaces near sources of natural light.  In addition, the second floor will feature a new open study zone, a dedicated History Center, a new “Entrepreneur Center,” four new glass-enclosed study rooms and a glazed active reference services office. Furniture for the renovated space will provide access to outlets to make it easy to charge devices in multiple locations.

After the first phase of construction is completed, the next phase of the renovation will focus on the first floor. Estimated to take about three months, the first-floor renovation will include restructuring and repositioning seating and shelving, creating alcoves for study space and pod seating, which is quieter and provides for safely distanced work, according to the library director, Maggie Gough.

“With COVID, we have given a lot of thought on whether to proceed with the renovation and decided that it made sense to take advantage of this time with lower in-person usage of the library so the construction project will cause minimal inconvenience to our patrons,” Gough said. “When the construction is completed, it will greatly enhance the future functionality of the library, with renovated light-infused space.”

Patrons will have limited access to the library during the renovation, though the library will continue to provide a range of services, including curbside book delivery, virtual librarians via phone and email, its mail-a-book program, online programs and more.


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