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BIGGER AND BETTER: This is an architect’s rendering of the planned 12,000-square-foot addition to the Daniel Pierce Library in Grahamsville. The current building is the square structure to the right. The addition will stretch out from behind and to the left of the original structure on Route 55.

12,000-Square-Foot Addition Coming to Local Library

By Dan Hust
GRAHAMSVILLE — If all goes according to plan, the Daniel Pierce Library in Grahamsville is going to get a lot larger – three times as big, in fact.
At the Giant Pumpkin Party at the Grahamsville Fairgrounds this October 7, library officials will announce the beginning of a project to construct a 12,000-square-foot addition on the back of the current 3,700-square-foot building.
“When this thing gets done,” said building committee chairperson Phil Coombe, Jr., “it will be second to none.”
The idea, according to Coombe and library director Joann Gallagher, had been under discussion for several years, but it was not seriously considered until two consecutive years of tax levy increases put the library in a healthy financial position.
“The community has been very generous in supporting us,” remarked Gallagher, explaining that a $40,000 raise in the 1999 tax levy and a $15,000 raise in the 2000 one (both voter-approved) has taken the load off the library-sponsored Pumpkin Party in meeting the basic needs of the library.
“The idea of the party was originally to provide funds for the operation of the library,” she said. “Over the years, it’s done everything, from buying new windows to paying for books.”
Now, the $17,000 or so the Giant Pumpkin Party raises every year will help fund this expansion, along with numerous private donations and – possibly – government grants (one for $8,000 has already been received). No taxes will be involved whatsoever.
Coombe said the fundraising effort officially starts at the Pumpkin Party. Although Gallagher’s son-in-law, Robert Swain of Amenta Emma Architects in Hartford, CT, has drawn a preliminary sketch of the two-story building, the project is still in such an early stage that Coombe and Gallagher are uncertain of a firm, final cost, but they are looking forward to the traditionally heavy community support.
“Several really generous people already gave large sums of money,” said Coombe. “And we have a fantastic board. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have this now.”
Coombe said the board (members include Anita Jones, Margaret Coombe, Lisa Raymond, Lori Edwards, Kathy Denman, Keith Edwards, Michael Schiffer, David Schneyer, Stephen Selwyn, Brian Swarthout and Phyllis Thomas-Moore) agreed with the building committee that the library should look not 5 or 10 years down the road, but 50 years when considering whether or not to go through with this project.
Committee members include Georgianna Lepke (the honorary chair), Clayton Brooks, Karl Connell, Coombe, George Dean, Brian Edwards, Gallagher, Nancy George, Jones, Laura McNamara, Schiffer, Horace Sheeley, Claudia Swain, Don TerBush and Wayne Zanetti.
“We’ve tried to involve as many people as we can,” said Coombe.
Interestingly enough, until a short while ago, all the library had was a building idea without the land. But next-door neighbor Marian Robinson ultimately agreed to sell the land her home rests on – .65 acres in all – to the library, as long as she could live there the rest of her life.
So in about three to four years, said Coombe, patrons of the 100-year-old Daniel Pierce Library will enter through a new entrance in the addition, which will extend out from the back of the library and then run westward along the mountain slope.
Inside will be the library’s entire collection, except for local history, as the current circa-1900 building and its decades-old addition (which the Tri-Valley Lions helped create) will be turned into a museum for the Town of Neversink and surrounding areas.
The new addition will also house a children’s literacy center, a computer lab, a basement for storage and book sales, a community room, an elevator (and other handicapped-accessible features), and other enhancements to help take the load off the current building.
“We’re just bursting,” said Gallagher, pointing out reading tables that have become staff desks, books piled high on temporary shelving and staircases, and cramped quarters throughout the current facility. “I feel like the city – we’re just always building up!”
But perhaps the piece de resistance will be the glass-walled veranda in the back of the addition, overlooking the mountainside and to-be-donated landscaping efforts.
Now all the library needs is the money to build the addition. Although funding has already come in, Gallagher and Coombe are looking forward to the official beginning of the fundraising drive at this year’s Giant Pumpkin Party, to be held at the Grahamsville Fairgrounds from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, October 7, and featuring a parade down Route 55 in Grahamsville at 9 a.m., games, a costume contest, music, crafts, vendors of all sorts, and, of course, the giant pumpkin contest itself.
“This is going to be a real community effort,” said Gallagher.

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