Shelton's Plumb Memorial Library completes 4-year renovation

SHELTON — After four years, Plumb Memorial Library’s facelift is finally complete. 

What began in 2018 as upgrades to the lower-level main meeting room ended this week with completion of major renovations to the main floor, work that included creating a teen area, reference department and coffee bar. 

“It is wonderful to be up and running again,” "Library Director Joan Stokes said Monday during the main level’s official reopening. “With this final piece done, we are now able to do what we’re supposed to do — be a library again.” 

The main level's reopening concludes more than four years of work at the city's main library. The work included upgrades to the main meeting room and children’s department on the lower level, upgrades to the building's older section, and installation of a new elevator. 

The most recent work — at a cost of about $350,000 — focused on repainting the walls and ceiling and installing new flooring and lighting. In the coming weeks, Stokes said the HVAC system — which failed last summer, forcing the library to be closed on hot days — will also be replaced. 

“I want to thank our patrons for their patience,” Stokes said. “I’m hearing great things from them. This is a gift to Shelton. I am glad they all hung with us, and to hear their excitement is very rewarding.” 

Stokes said the key to the entire project was making the library “clean and functional.” 

The four-phase renovation project cost $645,000, with nearly $625,000 coming from the Library Board. The elevator installation costs were borne by the city. 

"I cannot say enough about the employees and what they have done through the COVID and the renovation,” Library Board President Jim Geissler said. “I know that when the patrons see the new adult section, they will be pleased." 

Geissler praised the board, both past and present, for what has become a completely renovated Plumb Memorial Library. While the present board pushed for the work, Geissler said past boards deserved credit for making the endowment that paid for it into what it has become today. 

“We are now looking forward to opening the whole library and then soon increasing hours to pre-COVID levels,” Geissler said, adding that he expects the programming and hours to increase in short order. 

The library's main sections, Stokes said, date back to 1975 and had remained untouched until the current updates.

There is now a dedicated reference desk, away from the main library administrative area, and a technology area, along with new furniture and end panels on the bookshelves. Stokes said patrons will also be able to stop at the new coffee bar.  

Stokes also pointed out the new teen department, an area with its own reading selections and seating, as well as a help desk, all dedicated to the city’s teenagers. In the past, the teen department was split between the upstairs and downstairs.  

Stokes said computers will be available for patrons, but she hopes to have laptops for use too. She said anyone interested in donating laptops can do so at the library. All donated laptops would have their hard drives wiped and be available for patron use on site.