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Hartford Public Library Branch Getting Upgrade

Barbour Street Facility Hasn't Been Renovated Since It Moved To Current Site In 1974

Jenna Carlesso

April 12, 2011

The Barbour Street branch of the city's public library hasn't been renovated since it moved to its current location in 1974, library officials said. The furniture is old-fashioned and the sign out front sports an outdated logo.

But thanks to an anonymous donor, the branch is getting a facelift.

The library's location at 281 Barbour St. shut down Saturday for renovations and will remain closed until April 25. Its walls and shelves will be repainted, its furniture updated and the sign in front will be redesigned.

Matthew K. Poland, the library's chief executive officer, said the branch came up in a conversation some months ago. The library received an anonymous donation to improve it not long afterward, he said.

"We were very surprised," Poland said. "Barbour would not have come up on the radar this year [for improvements], but with this donation we're able to renovate."

The renovations will cost about $15,000, and more than half will be covered by the donation. The rest will be paid for with money from the library's operating budget, Poland said.

Roughly 34,000 people visit the Barbour branch every year. The 1,775-square-foot facility — one of 10 Hartford Public Library locations — rents books, CDs and DVDs. It also has eight public computer stations.

Its furniture and décor have not kept up with the advances in its materials, however. The branch still has "very traditional, heavy library furniture" dating back to the 1970s, Poland said.

"It's not flexible or easy to move, and it's not compatible with our computers," he said. "We're replacing it with more modern, contemporary office furniture."

The Barbour Street location is one of the few Hartford library branches still in need of improvements, Poland said.

Two others are getting upgrades. The library's Albany Avenue location is being rebuilt, with the new facility set to open late this summer.

The Dwight branch in Parkville will undergo an expansion later this year.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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