MERIDEN — A committee is surveying library users on possible renovations at the Meriden Public Library.
”There is no question, our library is in need of upgrades and renovations,” said City Councilor Brian Daniels, who recently joined the Library Building Review Committee.
The survey, available online, on Facebook, at the Meriden Department of Health and Human Services and other locations, queries users on existing library habits and possible improvements. The survey findings will help the building committee devise a strategic plan.
Library Director Karen Roesler said improvements have been discussed, including adding bathrooms. There is now only one bathroom each for men and women. Other priorities include bringing the 44-year-old library elevator up to code, increasing the size of the children’s library, and creating a teen center.
“My hope in this coming year is to hire an architect to look at the building, increase the size and improve the children’s area,” Roesler said.
The City Council approved the creation of a library building review committee in 2016.
The nine-person committee includes two city councilors, three members of the library board of directors, and four Meriden residents. The members include David White, Genaro Carrero Jr., Denise Daniels, Corporation Counsel Mike Quinn and Purchasing Director Wilma Petro.
Committee Chairman Carmine Trotta said the library’s Board of Trustees is visiting other libraries, including the Wallingford Public Library, to help draft a strategic plan.
“In the next few months we hope to start looking at architects,” Trotta said.
Friends of the Meriden Public Library President Frank Ridley said his group has already raised about $40,000 for the project and will continue to hold fundraisers and seek corporate sponsorships. State grants could also be available.
“The city is cash-strapped like everyone else,” Ridley said. “Anyway we can help, we will.”
"We may fund a portion of it,” said Acting City Manager Ken Morgan. “That project has been in the books awhile and it needs to move forward. It's time to start getting some good solid numbers on what needs to be done and where it's going to fit into the plan."
The library’s Miller Street property is landlocked, but there may be a way to change the footprint to create space.
The building was designed for additional floors, and now has part of a second story filled with administrative offices.
Some of the committee members have expressed interest in building a teen center that would provide a space for quiet activities. The need for a teen center was revealed in a Choice Neighborhood study that surveyed 313 teens from the downtown neighborhood and the city’s three high schools.
A majority of the youth surveyed said they would go to a youth center and 86 percent said it was very important. About 50 percent said they believe the youth center would reduce stress. The most important activities the teens wanted to see were: job/training/mentoring, quiet study, tutoring, computers and exercise, according to the Choice Neighborhood transformational plan.
The Friends of the Meriden Public Library will host a fundraiser at Violi’s Restaurant at Hunter Golf Course on Friday Feb. 11 from noon to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for an all-you-can-eat buffet, soda, dessert and cash bar, said organizer and author Laura Van Wormer.
The Friends group receives $7 a ticket per diner. Tickets are available at the Friends Bookstore on the east side of the library during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To participate in the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MeridenPL