Shelton's Plumb Library gets lift with new elevator

Shelton Library Director Joan Stokes, left, and library Children's Programmer Maura Gualtiere show off the new elevator at Plumb Memorial Library.

Shelton Library Director Joan Stokes, left, and library Children’s Programmer Maura Gualtiere show off the new elevator at Plumb Memorial Library.

Brian Gioiele / Hearst Connecticut Media

Plumb Memorial Library patrons can now get a much-needed lift.

Shelton Library Director Joan Stokes last week unveiled the building’s new elevator. The addition of the elevator - nine months in the making at a cost of some $150,000 in city funds - is the latest upgrade to Plumb Library, coming only months after a complete renovation of the main meeting room.

“The benefit is immediate,” said Stokes about the new elevator. “If you don’t have all your items available to everyone in the city, you are losing every day … you are failing every day. This is a big step for us.”

Stokes said that while there was a ramp to an entrance at the rear of the building, the ramp’s slope was too steep and not ADA compliant. Stokes said it was “tough to get a wheelchair up that back ramp.

"As a city building,” said Stokes, “every person in Shelton should have access to everything we have to offer. Without an elevator, if a person coming in had any kind of physical disability or handicap, so much of the library was cut off to them.”

Stokes credited a “proactive” Library Board and the Friends of Shelton Libraries for pushing renovations to the old building, with the original portion built in 1895, the addition in 1979.

The elevator work is now complete, but the renovations are continuing. At present, the Plumb Library children’s room is gutted, with its renovation expected to be completed by the end of the year.

This work, according to library board Chairman Jim Geissler, is the latest in what will be a series of renovations to Plumb Memorial Library scheduled over the next few years. The work began earlier this year with the renovation of the main meeting room, the result of which has been a technologically and aesthetically improved space that has become a hub for various community activities.

Renovations will include removal of the shelving, old and stained carpeting and other demo work, followed by replacing the ceiling, installation of updated electrical equipment, installing new flooring and shelving. Furniture will also be supplied courtesy of the Friends of Shelton Libraries.

Other work includes updating the staff room, including new furniture, as well as new flooring and painting in the entranceway leading into the children’s department as well as the stairway going to the main level. Geissler said the city will handle upgrading the bathrooms to make them ADA compliant.

In all, the renovations will cost some $150,000, with the costs covered by the library board of directors and the Friends of the Shelton Libraries. Stokes said the children’s department should be reopened by year’s end. In the meantime, the Plumb Memorial Library main meeting room will remain open.