By Buffy Calvert

Some 85 year-old ladies go on a diet. The Andes Public Library, which will be 85 come January, plans to expand.

She celebrated 2006 by welcoming two new Board members: Brandye Grommeck and Phyllis Galowitz, and by receiving an Absolute Charter as a Town Library from the New York State Board of Regents. She is becoming more popular and sought-after every year.

In the past five years the library has doubled its circulation. This is partly because we are open every day but Sunday now that we are chartered to serve the whole town. Generous donors have given money, time, and heaps of wonderful books. Our shelves are stuffed and spilling over onto tables. Toddlers and their parents fill the Children’s Room to overflowing for Story Hour. There is no real place to hold our Book Sales except the Community Room which crowds the many groups clamoring to use it. In fact, our sunny, inviting meeting room needs to be much larger to accommodate the classes and gatherings who meet there: Kids in the Kaatskills, art and writing classes, TOPS, GED tutoring, ACS training, Camera Club, committees, etc. We are bursting at the seams!

In January the staff, board, and others in the community spent a day looking at our assets and needs. We formulated a Long Range Plan that called for more space. In response, we have consulted with officials, engineers, architects, historic preservation experts, and marketing specialists to explore possible solutions.

This summer we hired Alfandre Architects to begin Phase I of a project to expand the library to serve the Andes community. They are analyzing our current assets and future needs, as well as measuring and documenting the building for the State Office of Historic Preservation. One aspect that is essential is the preservation of the original Bohlmann house given to Andes in 1918 “for a public purpose.” Always used as a library, it was expanded in 1974 with a grant from the O’Connor Foundation.

While we do not yet know what shape a future addition may take, we agree that it must continue the tradition of the lively, warm, and friendly cultural center we are now but with barrier-free and adequate space for our growing collection, computer use, children’s programs, local history and community meetings of all kinds. We hope to take

full advantage of our beautiful site: the park, the brook and the view.

We will need to raise money, of course, hopefully from grants and donations. Anyone who would enjoy working on this exciting project, sign up at the library or call me at 676-3986. ~