By Ed Perratore
The children’s room of the Mount Pleasant Public Library in Pleasantville will be getting a brand-new look, thanks to two state legislators who combined their efforts to secure nearly $400,000 in grant funding.
In a joint press conference last Thursday, State Sen. Peter Harckham (D-Lewisboro) and Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti (D-Pleasantville) announced the award of a $250,000 State and Municipal Facilities Program (SAM) grant and a $140,591 library construction grant from the state Education Department. Also on hand for the event were Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer and Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi.
The grants will pay for converting the library’s HVAC system from oil to natural gas, replacing the room’s ceiling and installing LED lighting. Also on the wish list is a reconfiguration of the children’s room.
Library Director John Fearon said the facility, a joint municipal library for the Town of Mount Pleasant and the Village of Pleasantville, has been surveying the community to build consensus on how best to update the space.
“In a couple of weeks, we’re doing a public forum,” Fearon said. “Everybody’s welcome to come and talk about what it is we want for our children.”
Harckham recalled taking his two now-grown daughters to the library.
“Our local community libraries are the epicenters of our community, gathering places where love of learning, in early life and later in life, (makes it) the one place without question where everybody is welcome regardless of ability or social status,” he said. “The library is where you can come and be part of the community, learn what you want to learn.”
“Libraries are an education center, a research center and a community center,” added Abinanti. “It’s nice to be able to bring back some of the taxpayers’ money for such a good cause.”
Obtaining grants for local libraries is also a way to lower property taxes, he added.
Fearon said that among the library board’s goals for the renovation is better demarcation of the children’s section and moving the area for preschoolers farther away from the adult space. The two spaces are currently adjacent.
To prevent the interruption of service while work is underway, library officials expect to relocate the children’s section to the basement community room. The board hopes to agree on a working plan by the new year, bid the project out by next summer and have work completed before the start of 2021.
The Mount Pleasant Public Library has an active children’s program, which includes story times for kids from infancy to preschool, family story times, evening “pajama” story times and musical concerts for children.