Hartford Public Library Opens New Albany Avenue Branch
By STEVEN GOODE
October 18, 2011
Dwayne Oglivie was walking past the shiny new Albany Avenue branch of the Hartford Public Library shortly after noon Monday when he asked the question he's been asking for the past two weeks.
"Is it going to open today?"
When he heard the answer was "yes," Oglivie, 14, headed for the front door.
"I'll be the first one in there," he said.
Fifteen minutes later, Oglivie walked into the brand-new, $5.8 million, sunlight-filled, 8,000-square-foot library at the corner of Albany and Blue Hills avenues.
"Sweet!" Oglivie said as he pointed to a comfortable-looking study chair with a sliding desktop.
The new library — more than twice the size of the soon-to-be-demolished old branch next door — features a brick and metal exterior and fresh landscaping. Inside, the stacks are almost filled with the books, magazines, CDs and DVDs moved over from the old branch when it closed Oct. 1.
Branch Manager Corey Fleming said Monday that regular visitors won't see an immediate difference in the available materials, but they will notice how much more space there is, including a dedicated children's section, a larger study area, more computers and a separate community room.
"They put a lot of thought into the design," Fleming said.
Library officials have talked for about a decade about building a new, larger space to keep up with growing demand. Construction began last September.
Fleming said the new branch is also geared to keeping up with technology trends and other services that attract library users.
"I stay up on the latest library technology and trends," said Fleming, " We're going to be at the forefront."
In addition to growing from 12 computer stations to 20, the branch also has some personal touches, from the two cloud-like lights in the children's section that sway gently back and forth and a community-created "tile quilt" mounted on the wall of the community room.
"I love it," said Jackie Bright, who tutors at the branch four days a week, as she pointed out the tile she made for the project.
The cost of the project includes demolition of the old branch next door, which had been in operation since 1950. Library officials said demolition is planned in the next few weeks. They expect to leave the area as open space.
The library has scheduled a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at 1 p.m. and a community grand opening Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m. featuring music, arts and crafts, local authors and library tours.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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