Henniker’s Tucker Free Library explores options to update historic building

  • Tucker Free Library trustees are pursuing options to renovate parts of the building that has housed Henniker’s library since 1904. NICK STOICO / Monitor staff

  • Library trustees envision the attic of the Tucker Free Library to one day be a community room to allow more space for programs. (NICK STOICO / Monitor staff) NICK STOICO—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/5/2018 6:57:26 PM

Tucker Free Library’s board of trustees is taking steps toward updating the building that has housed Henniker’s library since 1904.

The board hired Concord-based Sheerr McCrystal Palson Architecture to carry out a feasibility study that will provide cost figures and design options for the library that will be presented to residents at town meeting in March.

The library seeks to install an elevator and public restrooms on the main floor, and renovate the attic – currently used for storage – into a community room.

Voters at town meeting last March supported a measure granting the library $10,500 to carry out the study.

It won’t be clear until voters decide in 2019 whether the project will be carried out all at once or divided into phases.

Patti Osgood, chairwoman of the library’s board of trustees, said the elevator is the top priority. The library installed a Garaventa lift in 1990 to carry wheelchairs up the stairs, but mechanical issues with the lift have given library workers and visitors fits in recent years.

“It’s frustrating and embarrassing,” said Osgood. “We want to be the most welcoming place in town.”

The elevator would ideally provide handicap access to the top floor, which the current lift does not, Osgood said.

The board envisions turning the top floor into an open space for library programs. Currently, programs are held on the main floor and sometimes disrupt regular use of the library.

“With (technology today), people today are so disconnected,” library director Lynn Piotrowicz said. “A space like this would bring everyone together. People want that stuff and they want that connection.”

Tucker Free Library was named New Hampshire’s Library of the Year in October and is listed on the state’s register of historic places.

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3321 or nstoico@cmonitor.com.)

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