The Nesconset branch of the Smithtown Special Library District opened its doors to the public Thursday morning.
Residents stepping inside were able to see how 15 months of construction had transformed the rundown Nesconset armory into a modern library.
"It's a relief that we finally reached this day," said Library Director Robert Lusak. "The satisfaction for me is when I see the smiles on people's faces. It's a happy day for the library and for the community."
When patrons step in, they enter a large two-story room, formerly armory's main equipment room, which has been transformed into the adult department with book stacks, computer stations and the main circulation desk. White ceiling tiles that seem to float over the bookshelves are visually striking.
"We dropped a ceiling over the stacks to give them a more cozy feeling,” said architect Gary Scheide of BBS Architecture in Patchogue.
To the right, the new children’s department has taken over the armory’s garage bay, as windows replace the garage doors allowing in natural light. Its sky blue walls and pale green trim with murals and animals cutouts create a woodlands theme.
“We wanted something children would enjoy but wouldn’t date over time,” said Children’s librarian Kate McIntyre. “It’s not too boyish or too girlish, and we can also change it with the season.”
Smithtown Library Board Trustee Charles Sauer said he was proud of the new Nesconset library’s design.
“The thing I am proudest of is that we utilized every square inch of this place, that every room is filled and being used by people,” Sauer said.
He stood with Library Trustee Anthony Monteleone as they greeted residents stepping into the Nesconset library for the first time.
“I am elated that the community of Nesconset, and in part Smithtown Township, has a first-rate library building. This library will become a beacon to the community and in a sense a signature building on Smithtown Boulevard,” Monteleone said.
The construction of the new Nesconset branch was part of a multi-year, $21 million renovation deal affecting all four buildings in the Smithtown Special Library District. Now that the Nesconset branch is open, the Smithtown Main Branch will close on July 2 so construction workers can break down the wall to combine the existing building with the new extension.
Final renovations to the Kings Park and Smithtown Main branch are expected to be completed by the end of 2011, early 2012, according to Lusak.