Rendering of new Reading area behind the Circulation desk

Planned Teen area on the first floor

 

View of the future Tech Center

The Rye Free Reading Room is the place to go if you want to sit by the fire and read a newspaper or periodical. Job seekers head to the computers in the Technology Center. The lower level is where you take your small children for story time, and later help them pick out the first books they’ll take home and read on their own. As time goes by, you happily drop them off so they can blow off a little STEAM, get homework help, or play Guitar Hero in the Teen Center.

The Rye Storytellers Guild meets there, as do book clubs, and a knitting circle. The Community Room is the landscape for art exhibits and business meetings. A bilingual program is held on Tuesdays.

A sea of activity in some sections and quiet contemplation in others, the Rye library is second in Westchester in attendance and first in most residents’ hearts — and it’s a boundless resource.

For Director Chris Shoemaker, his primary task is “balancing what the more than century-old library means to people against today’s needs. People come here to study, meet friends, learn a skill, and make connections of all kinds.”

At the Library’s annual meeting last weekend, Shoemaker and the board of trustees rolled out the “next chapter” renovation plan to meet those needs. They also revealed a “brand refresh” — a new logo and “Be Curious” tagline, “which speaks to our passion for nurturing inquisitive minds.”

In the seismic redesign, there will be bench seating around some windows, the Technology Center is moving upstairs so it can also be used as a classroom, and the Teen Center is going back downstairs, complete with “stadium seating” and “diner booths”. Shoemaker remarked, “Keeping teens near the indoor patio, where all ages stop for refreshments and snacks, made a lot of practical sense.”

As a result, there will be more activity on the first floor, but the comfortable reading chairs near the fireplace will remain and the board hopes to add more chairs.

Two of the new quiet attractions on the second floor will be private study booths and a local history conference room.

The second-floor renovations will begin in March. Once they’re complete, the first-floor plans will go out to bid.

By phasing in the renovations, the Library will be open for business as usual.