As expansion project begins, Tilton Library move set for April 15

Tilton Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin stands in the South Deerfield Congregational Church’s function hall, which will serve as the library’s temporary home while its expansion project gets underway.

Tilton Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin stands in the South Deerfield Congregational Church’s function hall, which will serve as the library’s temporary home while its expansion project gets underway. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Tilton Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin stands on the new accessibility ramp leading up to the South Deerfield Congregational Church, which will serve as the library’s temporary home while its expansion project gets underway.

Tilton Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin stands on the new accessibility ramp leading up to the South Deerfield Congregational Church, which will serve as the library’s temporary home while its expansion project gets underway. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

The South Deerfield Congregational Church’s function hall, which will serve as Tilton Library’s temporary home while its expansion project gets underway.

The South Deerfield Congregational Church’s function hall, which will serve as Tilton Library’s temporary home while its expansion project gets underway. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 03-26-2024 4:12 PM

Modified: 03-26-2024 5:59 PM


SOUTH DEERFIELD — Tilton Library has an official date for its move next door to the South Deerfield Congregational Church’s function hall, as its long-awaited expansion project is nearly set to begin.

The library will officially move on April 15, but it will close about a week and a half earlier on April 5 to prepare. Tilton Library will reopen in its temporary home on May 1.

Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin said the long-anticipated expansion project is starting to really pick up steam and she’s excited to take this huge step forward.

“This is right about 10 years; it was 2014 when the project got the go-ahead to apply from the Selectboard,” Bradbury-Carlin recounted, referencing a decision to pursue a feasibility study to see how the library could be expanded or renovated. “The last year has made it more real with [meetings] with the architect and getting back to fundraising.”

Sitterly Movers, which has offices in Springfield and South Deerfield, will be handling the move. Bradbury-Carlin said “we’re in good hands” with Sitterly Movers, as the company has moved more than 200 libraries, including the Greenfield Public Library and the University of Massachusetts’ library.

During the month-long closure, library patrons are encouraged to use Tilton Library’s online and virtual services, or visit libraries in Greenfield, Hatfield, Sunderland and Whately, which will handle all library business for their neighbors, just as Tilton Library did for the Sunderland Public Library in January when it was closed for a carpet replacement project.

Folks are asked to not return or request books at Tilton Library while the move is underway. Holds will also not be processed starting March 27.

Once in the church, at 71 North Main St., operations are expected to remain largely the same, but at a smaller scale. Parking will be available between the church and the 1888 Building and patrons will be asked to enter using the accessible ramp.

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“People can still come in and borrow things that we have, but we will have half the amount of things that we have,” Bradbury-Carlin said. The temporary space will also have two adult computers, a children’s computer, a small meeting space and an area for people to hang out in.

Tilton Library is expected to be in the South Deerfield Congregational Church for approximately one year while the $12.3 million expansion project, which will nearly triple the building’s square footage, is underway. Key improvements include expanded teen and children’s rooms, meeting and co-working spaces on the second floor, and a “nighttime suite” that will be accessible after normal library hours and feature meeting spaces, a small kitchen and bathrooms.

A groundbreaking is expected near the end of April.

For more information about Tilton Library’s move, as well what services are available during the month-long closure, visit its moving webpage at tiltonlibrary.org/while-we-are-closed.

Church repair bid awarded

As Tilton Library prepares to move into the church, the Deerfield Selectboard has also awarded a construction bid for building repairs to Cenaxo, a Connecticut-based construction company with specializations in architectural restoration and historic roofing.

Construction at the church will focus on the repair of two trusses supporting the roof and the balcony connected to the trusses. As Cenaxo’s work will focus on the church’s main sanctuary, it will not impact the library, which will be set up in the function hall.

The town received two bids and Cenaxo’s was the lowest, coming in at $235,832 with a potential add-on of $37,702 to increase balcony support, which the board opted to accept. Town Administrator Kayce Warren noted that both bids the town received “came in a little higher than we were expecting.”

Deerfield voters have set aside $300,000 — in two separate $150,000 appropriations — at a Special Town Meeting in October 2021 and then at another Special Town Meeting in October 2022.

“The main piece is to fix the trusses so the roof is stable,” Warren said. “Inside the room, that balcony is pulling on two sections of the trusses. One side is crushed and the other side is heavily affected, so the whole roof is affected.”

The Selectboard awarded the contract on March 18, which was a joint meeting with the Finance Committee to discuss the town budget, but reaffirmed its vote at its March 20 meeting, as member Trevor McDaniel had missed the prior meeting.

“I was worried about Easter week and wanted to make sure there was mobilization as fast as possible because it is very much damaged,” Selectboard Carolyn Shores Ness said of the timing of the first vote. “It’s definitely more damaged than we started out with.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.