WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

MONSON — The Monson Free Library reopened on Feb. 8 after four months of being closed to the browsing public so that the windows could be replaced.

The windows were original to “The Wing,” a 1990 addition to the 1882 granite building. Library Director Hope Bodwell said, “We knew [the windows] were compromised. The frames basically rotted out and water was coming into the building.” Personnel removed the books and shelves from the walls by the windows and there was no damage to the library’s collections.

While the windows were being replaced, the wing’s door was also updated. Bodwell said the door had begun to rust and its automatic opening function had become faulty. After the replacement work, the walls and ceiling received a fresh coat of paint.

Bodwell said her team took advantage of the closure, using the absence of patrons to cull the collection, removing books for which it no longer had space and those that were not needed. They also changed the layout of the library. In addition, Monson-based Holistic Industries donated $5,000 for new furniture.

While the library has been closed to browse, it has continued to provide curbside pickup for requested books. Programming has also continued upstairs in the community room throughout the construction.

Still, Bodwell said, “People have been frustrated” with the closure of the wing. “I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to come back.” The library usually serves about 400 patrons per week. With the Feb. 8 soft-opening, all services have been restored. The library is hoping to host a grand reopening in April, around National Library Week.

The $250,000 project was funded through the Monson Free Library Corporation’s endowment. “This is not taxpayer funded,” Bodwell said. “This was a huge hit to the endowment.” She added that the corporation has been “fiscally responsible” and “very diligent” in staying on top of maintenance costs. While the corporation would normally have fundraised prior to the work being done, the emergency nature of the leaking windows required immediate action.

To reimburse the endowment, Bodwell said the library will be launching a massive fundraising campaign with events over the next year or so. The library will also be sending out letters seeking donations from patrons. “The whole community helped build this wing,” Bodwell said. “We’re hoping they’ll help with the repair.”

sheinonen@thereminder.com | + posts