ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — The staff at the Atlantic Highlands public library is busy preparing for their next big move, but it’s all good, according to the branch manager.
Marilyn Scherfen is working with her staff to relocate the library’s approximately 22,000 materials for the move from the library’s temporary location, where it has been for the last two and a half years, to its permanent surroundings in the recently renovated borough hall at 100 First Ave.
“It’s like any move,” Scherfen explained. “It’s no different. You have all the I’s to dot and T’s to cross. Hopefully, they will be.
“The last move went pretty smoothly,” she said, hoping this will be the same.
The library closed as the borough undertook a complete renovation of its municipal complex, which contained its business offices, borough council chambers, municipal court, police headquarters and the library.
The six million dollar renovation expanded the library’s original space from roughly 1,600 square feet to 4,000.
The municipal complex had been plagued with mold problems and had become increasingly inadequate for the borough’s needs, officials said during prior discussions on the renovation project.
This was true for the library portion, too, Scherfen said. The old library was located in the basement level of the old borough hall building and was not fully accessible for handicapped patrons, who had to rely on a chairlift to get down to the library.
And, Scherfen said “Once down there it was really cramped.” Now, “It has a much more open feeling,” with the abundance of windows and light, she said of the new space. “I think everyone will feel uplifted and enlightened.”
While the First Avenue building was under construction, the library operated out of the field house at the Fireman’s Field sports field, Avenue C. While the project was underway, local and county officials negotiated to have the borough library become a branch of the county library system.
The temporary location worked out better than initially expected, Scherfen said. “A lot of patrons were coming through and saying how they enjoyed it over here, adding that many of them noted the temporary location had a homey atmosphere. “So, they hadn’t minded it as much as they thought they might.”
The shelves are in place at the new library in borough hall and the staff is waiting for shelving tops and sides and the circulation desk to be installed, all of which should be completed this week.
The library will close for two weeks beginning April 9, to allow the movers to relocate materials and equipment from the fieldhouse, and get the computers hooked up and other equipment ready to go for when the library re-opens on April 23, she said.
Once they’re up and running, “We’re hoping everyone will come down and see this new wonderful space,” Scherfen said.