What’s in Your Dream Library? Starr Plans Expansion

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Starr Library Survey Results

Jasmina Lodoe, Reporter

Shhhh! Renovations in progress!

In order to meet the needs of Rhinebeck’s growing community, Starr Library is considering expanding their space.

Stephan Cook, the Starr Library Director since 2004, identified some priorities: more space for large groups (Starr Programs), small meeting space (tutors and students, small groups like the Parkinsons’ Support Group), and quieter areas where people can sit with a book or periodical.

A community survey was conducted and the Board of Trustees is reviewing the results. They started the process by inviting around 30 stakeholders to speak with their architect, Paul Mays, and to give him their ideas.

Once the priorities have been set in detail, the architect will draft plans and budgets to match them. They don’t know whether they are going to be doing a renovation of their existing space, or if they will add on to the building.

As for funding, Mr. Cook said that “the majority of funding for this project will come from donations, State Aid for construction, grants and gifts. It will not be funded by taxpayers- we receive funding from residents in Rhinebeck, and that goes toward the operation of the building, not expansion.”

Students at RHS expressed what they hope the library will have. Oona Shain, a senior at RHS, hopes they will have “stronger community outreach.”

Shain said Rhinecliff’s Morton Memorial library goes out into their community to make it better.

Could this proposed expansion make the Starr Library stand out in comparison to our neighbors?

Rhinecliff’s Morton library is small but still holds a lot of community events— everything from hosting a chess club to small concerts and poetry readings.

Staatsburg is small, but they have an event scheduled for every day of the week, except weekends, ranging from story times to book clubs to virtual field trips. The

Red Hook Library, housed in a historic building, prides itself on having provided life long learning opportunities since 1898. But its site makes it more difficult to expand even though Red Hook’s population is about 40% larger than ours.

A library is an important part of a thriving community, when taken advantage of. This expansion is a good opportunity for Rhinebeck’s Library to become a true hub for our community.