@ the library
This Week's Events
I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done. ♦ Steven Wright
The Blauvelt Free Library is now available as a pick-up spot for fresh produce and artisanal foods from small local farms. We've partnered with FIELD GOODS -- a food distributor representing Hudson Valley farmers -- to bring you the freshest vegetables and fruit from the region. Once you register with Field Goods online, you will be able to pick up your weekly bag (prices start at $16 for individuals and $32 for families) from the new front vestibule at the library on Thursdays any time between 4:30 and 9pm. Support local agribusiness and feed yourself and your family in style. Click here to get started: FIELD GOODS
Get ready to rumble. The Blauvelt Free Library's post-renovation "Housewarming" (originally planned for Saturday, June 9th from 10am to 4pm), will now be held on Saturday, September 22nd. Watch this space for updates, and if you are on our email listserv you will also receive notices. Music, food, fun for the kids and dedications galore. More on what's planned as the story develops. We want to celebrate with YOU!
June 22 | I have a quick conversation with both cabinetmakers. Kevin will reimburse us the difference from the downpayment to what was actually completed, Richard of Polanco Mills visits to review the job in order to give us a new set of numbers. The Board will meet on Tuesday to sign off on the transition.
June 21 | The longest day of the year (in more ways than one). The cabinetmaker and his assistant add the birch accent panels to the shelving along the south wall of the fiction room. I give Kevin paperwork so we can finalize numbers on items he neglected to spec. That's when he tells me that the two brothers who work for him quit, and he won't be able to complete the job. That explains why the work was commencing soooo slowly -- Kevin was putting in 10-hour days by himself and commuting from Poughkeepsie to boot. Fortunately, I had a back-up cabinetmaker on standby -- one with a higher price tag but a much larger shop and the capability of turning out the furnishings in short order.
June 19 | The cabinetmaker and his helper install the untrimmed shelf bases against the south wall of the fiction room. He'll be back another day to add the counter, base cap and real bark trim.
June 17 | More cabinetry is assembled in the Behringer Room. The Marvin window people show up to troubleshoot broken window locks in the staff room and upstairs restroom. It seems that the painters like to remove them when they're prepping the windows, not realizing that there's a delicate piece of the lock that sometimes falls out. It will take 3 - 4 weeks before the new locks arrive.
June 13 | Kevin, the cabinetmaker, arrives solo to continue to put the finishing touches (trim, caps, bases) on the cabinets, which he's had stored in the Behringer Room. I speak to the landscaper about our plans for the lawn out back and the walkway -- we may decide to prep for that and install at a later date -- just to save money on bringing in earth-moving equipment. A supervisor from D + D Elevator appears to install the floor number 1A in the frame of the elevator door. Ed Cook, one of our contractors, runs over to meet with him. One of the elevator company's crew had talked to me about adding a heat pump in the oil tank -- said it would extend the life of the unit for over a decade. When I mentioned that to the supervisor he smiled and shook his head. He told me there was no reason to do that here.
June 12 | Sal of Landmark Irrigation is here in response to the landscaper's request. He's installing sprinkler heads around the perennial beds (now I don't have to water every other day). Kevin and a helper drag in a radial saw and set it up in the Behringer Room so they can put together the shelving on site. There's a movie going on one floor below. This could get interesting.
June 11 | The landscaper is here when I arrive. He's putting the last of the perennials to bed. The front of the building looks great (if I do say so myself). We're planning to put in a lawn out back and a walkway at the Western Highway side. The walkway may have to wait for funds to appear. Kevin, the cabinetmaker, brings in another load of shelves. They have inset panels of real cherry bark -- which is a really subtle and wonderful touch.
June 6 | The landscaper brings cartons full of Vinca (ground cover) to fill in around the perennials. He also places small trellises along the post and rail fence and plants starter Clematis vines against them.
June 5 | Ed Cook calls to inquire about progress with the elevator. He's withholding a small payment until we get our door frame numbers, paint touch-up and information on a heater for the oil tank. A faint alarm goes off periodically every time it rains.
June 4 | Steve Binder and Joaquin plant perennials across the front of the building. Steve has chosen a delicate blend of flowering plants that include: Yarrow, Sage, Heuchera, Coreopsis, and Lavender among others. Still to come is the clematis for the post and rail fence under the street sign.
June 1 | We lose the pin that fits inside the locking mechanism on the public restroom. I knew this day would come. I make a sign for the door handle and tell Dave who promises to inquire at Beckerle. Still bugging him about bugging the painters to return for touch-up and to stain the fire doors in the west wing entry.
May 30 | Steve from the automated door company comes to troubleshoot the mechanism that activates the door when pushed. It takes him a good three hours to make the necessary modification. I have a feeling that these doors are always going to be delicate to maintain.
May 18 | Dave Sirois, contractor extraordinaire, visits to drop off some small Masonite panels he's custom cut for us. I've been helping one on our patrons, artist Helen Potter, for over two years to edit a children's book she wrote about her cat. As a thank-you, she offered to paint two Hudson River Valley scenes to fit into shallow framed openings above two doors in the west wing. She based them on paintings I found online. After the paintings were delivered, they were removed from their stretchers, and Barry decided to mount them on 1/8-inch Masonite. Unfortunately, after a trip to Lowe's, he discovered that Masonite is sold only by the sheet -- the 4 x 8 foot sheet. I played a hunch and asked Dave if he had any Masonite scraps lying around, and he delivered -- even wound up cutting them to size (with an extra piece for good measure).
May 10 | Sal of Landmark Irrigation stops in again to ask about the sprinkler head locations. I'm not sure why I need to go over this every few days, but so be it. I get our landscaper on the phone and let the two of them hash it out. As I'm winding things up with Sal (after half an hour that I can't explain), the Iron Age guy (Larry) also appears (announced, but do I really have to tell you that) to measure for the railings. I spoke to him weeks ago and periodically wonder what's going on since enough time has passed to make me question. We finalize some details for the design -- we'll add a handicapped loop on each end for ease of access. Larry tells me the railings will be installed in one to two weeks. The whole job should take about an hour-and-a-half.
May 4 | The irrigation system is reinstalled after taking a beating during construction. I wasn't here to speak with Sal of Landmark Irrigation, because I was at a library conference at the Doral Arrowwood Conference Center in Rye Brook. There were several vendors there, and I did get to hobnob with Kim of FIELD GOODS -- that's the fresh local produce (and other products) service we'll be offering shortly. While I was out, Design Air showed up to troubleshoot a problem with the air conditioning -- the condenser froze up -- I'm talking a giant block of ice.
April 30 | The landscaper surprises me with a lilac bush to the left of the new front entrance (okay, I did request it -- my favorite flower -- but I didn't know it was coming today). What's nice is that it can be seen from the Staff Room and the Staff Restroom. He also plants baby privet hedges on either side of the walkway. They will grow slowly and fill in over time. Still no word on paint touch-up, elevator numbers, and that little patch of baseboard at the steps between the old wing and the new one. Three more, double-sided rolling cabinets are due next week. The rest of the staff chairs arrived and are awaiting assemblage.
April 23 | The landscapers finish planting the Arborvitae bushes (they're called "Thuja Emerald Green") around the library-facing side of the generator on the south lawn. They must be watered every three days (that's now my job). We are pushing back the Grand Re-Opening Celebration date from Saturday, June 9th to Saturday, September 22nd (tentative, will confirm shortly) -- there's just too much to do, and we don't want to shortchange the process.
April 20 | Craig, our phone installer, sets up whatever phones he can place. The full system won't be up and running until the furniture is built, but he tells us we can use them to call to other extensions. That sound of a pickaxe is Steve Binder and his righthand man, Joaquin, digging holes for the Arbor Vitae on the south lawn. Twelve of them will surround the generator. He tells me the ground is unsuitable for planting -- all of the gravel laid to bring in heavy equipment was simply flattened into the soil. For him to remove it and add topsoil is an expensive proposition. What else is new?! As luck would have it, Ed Cook calls to check on the status of the elevators (remember, the floor numbers were changed), and his truck and the landscaper's truck sit abreast in the parking lot (I stand between them) while we iron out who is responsible for what. The landscaper will add topsoil above the buried gravel. End of story. Dave, our contractor, shows up unannounced -- the last text I sent him specifically asked him to let me know when he was coming. As I am leaving to meet with library directors, trustees and Supervisor, Chris Day, our wall installation artist, Tom Nussbaum, comes sauntering in the door. He's here to take photographs of his art. He's just had a show of his work in a gallery in New Orleans and sold a few pieces. Nice guy. Great art. I head over to Town Hall -- Chris Day is pushing the libraries to consolidate under a School District/Civil Service model and we are the holdout. Getting some pressure from the other libraries to reconsider. Back at the library to put together my Board report, which must be mailed out tomorrow.
April 18 | Design Air rep, Chris, arrives to replace the air conditioning unit filters -- he tells me he'll be here all day. I make a chart of revised cabinetry quotes (yet again).
April 16 | Steve Binder (landscaper) visit with Proposals for the front plantings and generator cover. He's here every other day it seems, but after all it is his season. I talk to another cabinetmaker about the job -- stay tuned. Barry and I plan to make a mock-up of the sign for the StoryCraft Cottage, which will be dedicated to the memory of children's room aide and storyteller, Mary deLisser on Saturday, June 9th. I speak with Kim McLean of FIELD GOODS to discuss the logistics of having fresh produce delivered to the library for pickup by people who register for the program. More on that as it develops.
April 13 | Yesterday, I had an altercation with the cabinetmaker. I noticed a gap between the backboard and top of several of the cabinets for the fiction room. They are being stored in the Behringer Room waiting to be trimmed and assembled. Since the gap wasn't on all the cabinets, I decided it was not part of the design. When I questioned the cabinetmaker, he blew up at me. Can't really say more about it here other than to admit that I was shaken. In other news, I noticed that there's a ragged gap where the steps meet the wall leading from the main lobby to the west wing. I send Dave a picture and he promises a "site visit." I tell him that I don't mean to be a pest (guess it just comes naturally). Barry is putting together the last of the office chairs for the staff to test. Just realized it's Friday the 13th.
April 10 | What's that I hear -- a voice with a slight British accent? It's Mark from D + D Elevator. "Didn't they tell you I was coming?" he asks. "Yes," I reply. They told me that every day for the past two weeks." He gets to work switching the numbers over the door -- from B, 1, 2 and 3 to B, 1, 1a and 2. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it makes no sense to travel two steps and call it a full floor. The number plates for inside the door jamb are on back order, so D+D alarm that we have to silence, sometimes more than once. Mark attributes the issue to the room's ambient temperature (unheated and subject to the vagaries of weather) and suggests a tank heater. He lifts the cover of the 4-foot long tank in the mechanical room to reveal a large vat of oil (who knew). He claims that the heater will extend the life of the motor from as little as 5 to potentially 25 years.
April 9 | Steve Binder, the landscaper, and I discuss placement of the shrubs and the way we will grade the walkway from the front west corner of the building to the yard out back. He will get me the cost of replacing the lawn (which, technically, is the contractor's responsibility -- return to same or better state as found). Still waiting on the elevator paint touch-up and floor number switch.
April 5 | The cabinetmaker and his crew (brothers Roc and Abner) deliver three double-sided fiction shelves, which we store in the Behringer Room. They are made from cherry wood stained to match the existing door finishes and are mounted on casters. The trim will be installed on site. The were running out of room in the shop, hence the partial delivery. Three more of the same units to come. Architect will visit this afternoon for a final, final walk-through. D+D elevator (supposed to fix scratches on door and change floor numbers) are nowhere to be seen. The landscaper recommends Arborvitae for cover in front of the generator. He texts me two types -- Thuja Emerald and Thuja Green Giant -- and I decide on the emerald. Andrew's back is bad today, so I offer him one of our newly-received office chairs to field test. He is grateful and the chair is actually very comfortable.
April 3 - 4 | Waiting for final paperwork to pay off the contractors -- some skirmishes over billing for oversights/overruns (wood floor and paint extras). Barry puts together a few of the six office chairs we've received. We'll have the staff try them out and decide on which are keepers and which we'll send back. All very scientific.
April 2 | A quiet day with a snowy beginning and a sunny end. I call the architect to let him know that he needs to make a final, final walk-through and check with the contractor that all the subs have been paid. We receive a pink Certificate of Compliance in the mail for the portico which was attached to the rear entrance in 2009 -- the ticket was never closed out (and is not suitable for framing).
Blauvelt Free Library | 541 Western Highway Blauvelt, NY 10913 | 845 359 2811
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