By Pamela West-Finkle

The Andes Library is hopping in May, gearing up for summer and kicking off some events to celebrate Andes Bicentennial Celebration 1819 – 2019. To start with, on Saturday, May 4th, 2-4 pm Judy Garrison will host a Headwaters History Days event featuring readings by local writers, John Jacobson and Buffy Calvert related to Andes history. (See box on page 7.)

On Mondays starting May 6th, Sharon Ruetenik of Writers in the Mountains is conducting a six week writer’s workshop called The Muse is All Around Us. The 6-8 pm workshop will run from May 6th – June 16th (skipping Memorial Day) and will focus on the question “Where do we get our ideas from?” The class is suitable for beginners and experienced participants and will explore the many external sources of inspiration available.  The workshop fee is $85. To register, contact Jean Stone at 607-326-4802 or email her at

Friday, May 17th, all are invited for an Andes Bicentennial All Ages Old Fashioned Barn Dance at Andes Central School. The ACS Junior class will be providing a chili dinner and refreshments just before and during the barn dance.  The extraordinary Homespun musical trio, Peter, Paul, and George will be on hand at 7 pm to provide old timey music and will teach the participants dances from around the world. The event is sponsored by the Andes Public Library and is made possible by a Youth Grant from the O’Connor Foundation.  Rumor has it that local folk music icon, Ira McIntosh, will also be on hand to sit in with the group. We hope that you can make it to this celebration of music and dance traditions!

One last date for your calendar is the Annual Library Party, Sunday, June 2nd from 2 to 5 pm at the library. Enjoy wonderful food and conversation with friends and neighbors, and music provided by the talented Andes Library musicians taking turns to entertain. Kari Haugeto, Bill Duke, Peter Lederman, and I, might all share a few songs throughout the afternoon. Keep an eye out for our annual appeal letter in the coming weeks to read about the various programs and activities our library has provided over the previous year.

The Garden Tour Committee is seeking gardens and views for this year’s Garden Tour, scheduled for Saturday, July 13th.  If you are interested in having your property featured in this year’s tour, please call 845-676-3333 or email us at

Lastly, on Thursday, April 18th, members of the Board of Trustees and construction committee held a special meeting to discuss the most recent setbacks in our flood mitigation, ADA compliance, and expansion project.  After two years of diligent work and seven months of working with engineers and the Catskill Watershed Corporation, it is now the consensus of the board and my recommendation that the flood mitigation project—which entailed raising the historic portion of the library, demolishing the 1973 portion and rebuilding it to current code, as well as adding on a new children’s room—is economically unfeasible.  The most recent cost estimates for the entire project had climbed into the $650,000 range.

In mid-March, we submitted the completed twenty-two page feasibility study to CWC and were told that if we planned to move forward, a new design study application would have to be submitted and the DEP still had many questions with regard to the impact of us expanding the library closer to the stream. The same week, Governor Cuomo cut the 2019-2020 library construction aid from $34 million to $14 million, leaving only $400,000 to be distributed among all Four County libraries in need of construction and repair. Because the library must spend the money already received from the 2017-2018 Library Construction Aid by June of 2020, we had a very short time frame to submit final bids and applications to the various funding sources needed to fund such a substantial project.

The board members, engineers, and our architect will be collaborating in the coming weeks to prioritize the projects that must be completed by next June 2020. These may include a new roof with solar panels, the raising and bracing of the main circulation room floor, the creation of a new handicapped accessible bathroom and redesign of the circulation desk area for efficiency and ADA compliance, as well as some outdoor foundation and siding repair. We also plan to spend the summer culling our juvenile and young adult sections and reorganizing the books so that our non-fiction collection can come downstairs and our historic books, reference books, and young adult sections will be moved upstairs.

If you have any questions about our two-year adventure into library construction and flood mitigation exploration, please feel free to contact me any afternoon between Monday and Thursday. I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events in May and early June!~