It’s been another exciting start to the year here in East Berlin for the Jean Barnett Trone Memorial Library. When we completed the expansion and renovation of the original library back in 2016, we were asked all the time "Where does the elevator go?" Well we are about ready to tell you where it leads to, the library’s basement, I mean lower level. The lower level of the library was partially finished during initial construction. It was done enough to be able to hold booksales and play rehearsals down there, but not completed into rooms or with ADA approved bathroom facilities. That is all about to change! We are excited to announce the following news on the library receiving $112,948.00 in Keystone Grant Funds.
The Jean Barnett Trone Memorial Library of East Berlin was honored to learn that it was one of only 27 public libraries in 18 counties awarded a grant from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania Department of Education, with funds provided from the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund. Keystone grants are competitive grants that pay up to 50 percent of eligible costs to plan, acquire, construct, or rehabilitate public library facilities.
Many deserve thanks for this award, including the Adams County Board of Commissioners; all the hardworking members of the design team; borough and township staff; and our local legislators all of whom recognized the innovation behind our library and demonstrated their united support for this grant application.
In line with the Keystone grant priorities, the awarded funds will be used to improve the building’s accessibility and sustainability. Plans include the installation of new automatic entry doors on the upper level, and the lower level will undergo a transformation into more functional library space with one half serving as a community room (about 4 to 5 times larger than our current programming rooms upstairs to accommodate a group size of 100) complete with restroom facilities and kitchenette. The remaining half will serve as an area where donated items can be properly processed and displayed to allow patrons to safely browse and shop the collection. Shaffer Design Associates, PC is the Architectural Firm and eciConstruction of Dilllsburg is the General Contractor. GCI Design is a consultant on the project.
I'm very excited for the library to be able to finish the lower level into usable space for all of the community. In 2018 the library held 489 programming events with 7,901 people attending, a statistic that doesn’t account for those who were turned away because of lack of space, or the loss of rental income because our meeting room is too small. There is still more work to do with the architects to finalize the plan before construction can begin this year and it will take several months to complete. While the library does have funds earmarked for the project as the grant requires, fundraising for the matching part of the grant is underway to ensure reserves aren't seriously depleted during this project.
A gap in construction costs and furnishings of approximately $75,000.00 is anticipated. The public is encouraged to please give generously – in person, online via Square on our website, www.eastberlinlibrary.org or by mail. Please mark “lower level project” on the memo line.
Learn more about this project by attending the Library’s 10th Annual Dinner Gala and Silent Auction on April 26 at Inn 94. Our keynote speaker for the Annual Dinner will be Peter Miele, Director of Education and Museum Operations at the Seminary Ridge Museum in Gettysburg. He will be talking about The Signal Corps at the Battle of Gettysburg—an examination of the origins of the Signal Corps and the role they played on July 1, 1863. Reservations for the event are $55 and can be purchased through the library, by calling 717-259-9000 or purchase online at https://mkt.com/east-berlin-community-library. For more ways to give, contact the Library Director at 717-259-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Brandt A. Ensor, Director, Jean Barnett Trone Memorial Library of East Berlin.