OPL Board next meets July 24
The Board of Trustees of Oneida Public Library will hold its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at 6:15 p.m. in the library’s Local History Room, 220 Broad St., Oneida. The public is invited to attend. The History Room permits barrier-free access to the physically handicapped.
New Library construction poised to begin
The final phase of construction of the new Oneida Public Library on the 3.1-acre site between Main and Elizabeth streets was officially inaugurated On June 18 at the old library’s site on Broad St. at a meeting of library officials, construction contractors and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, the chief financial backer of the construction project.
“We are all very excited to see this day finally come,” said Rick Kinsella, the OPL Board president. “Many people have spent thousands of hours studying, planning and shepherding the new Library project through an oftentimes challenging process.”
According to the construction timeline, mobilization is now underway and, after 52 weeks, the new facility will be substantially completed. After finishing and furnishing the new building, the Oneida Public Library will move in to its new facility in early August 2020.
Designed by architect Julia Marshall of Holmes, King, Kallquist and Associates of Syracuse, the new library structure will by built by Richard E. Alexander Co., Inc., as general contractor; S. C. Spencer Electric, Inc., for electrical work; Erie Mechanical Contractors, Inc., for plumbing; Giruzzi Plumbing and Heating, Inc., as mechanical contractor; and Central Paving Inc., for site work. (The building site’s underground infrastructure was completed by Paul F. Vitale, Inc., in Phase I construction in January 2017.)
The New Library Project started out in 2008 when the library board, library staff and community members with expertise in finance and construction began investigating the need for a larger, up-to-date library facility and what a new library would offer in terms of services and community needs. The board also took advantage of the expertise of outside library design and engineering consultants. Ultimately, the various volunteer committees came together and recommended that a new library be built on a new site large enough to fit a one-storey building.
Out of the 27 locations in the greater Oneida area investigated by the board and community volunteers, the board’s final choice was the site of the former Oneida High and Junior High schools on Elizabeth and Main. With the financial support of the Gorman Foundation, the OPL Board in June 2011 bought the 3.129-acre vacant property from the City of Oneida for $197,000.
Subsequently, with the aid of a $500,000 New York State Economic Development Grant arranged by then State Senator David Valesky, the board hired the architectural expertise of Holmes, King, Kallquist and Associates as well as environmental and engineering consultants.
The library initiated in 2013 a capital campaign to raise funds to help pay for a new facility, and by the end of the campaign it had raised just over $2-million in private donations and grants from private foundations and from New York State agencies. Meanwhile, to ensure sufficient funding for construction, the library successfully applied for a low-interest, long-term loan from the Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division, awarded in August 2014.
Voters in the OPL’s Special Library District approved the $6.117-million New Library Project and all financing required to complete it in a referendum passed on March 3, 2015.
The OPL was established by the New York State Legislature as a Special Library District in 1996, as affirmed by a voter-approved referendum in March 1997. The Library District, co-terminus with the boundaries of the Oneida City School District, includes most of the City of Oneida and portions of the towns of Lincoln and Lenox in Madison County and portions of the towns of Vernon (Oneida Castle and adjacent areas), Verona (Durhamville, Sconondoa district Verona Beach and parts of Sylvan Beach) and Vienna (Sylvan Beach) in Oneida County.
More 19th-century newspapers added to OPL’s Digital Archives Thanks to a grant from the Central New York Library Resources Council and a donation from the Friends of the Oneida Public Library, the OPL’s Digital Archives of the Oneida Public Library now has the digital versions of 10 microfilm reels of Oneida 19th-century newspapers: The Democratic Union (Feb. 1872-Sept. 1875 and Jan. 1885-Dec. 1901) and the Oneida Free Press (April 1880-March 1886).
The OPL has Oneida High School yearbooks online Oneida High School yearbooks from 1936 through 2018 have been successfully digitized, electronically indexed and, as of today, posted online at the web site of New York Heritage, thanks to a Regional Bibliographic Databases Program grant to the Oneida Public Library from the New York State Library, as administered by the Central New York Library Resources Council in Syracuse. Those interested in exploring the yearbooks online can go directly to the New York Heritage site at: https://nyheritage.org/collections/oneida-yearbook-collection
For its seventh summer at the OPL, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Laboratory in Rome, the Lego Robotics Workshop returns July 22-26 for an intensive week of designing and building robots to do tasks that could improve society and the quality of life. Registered students will build electronically controlled robots with Legos and power packs under the supervision of Ralph Kohler, Jr., and Tandy Paugh from the U.S. Air Force’s Rome lab.
Lego robotics is being promoted by the U.S. Air Force nationwide to encourage young people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It has led to the creation of several First Lego League teams in the Oneida area, including the OPL-sponsored team, GeneWorkx Oughtamation.
Back for its seventh year, the robotics workshop led by U.S. Air Force Lab specialists Ralph Kohler and Tandi Paugh is for students who have completed fifth grade. They will program and manipulate tabletop robots made of Legos and programmable controls to tackle special tasks. Pre-registration at the Oneida Library desk is required (by phone, call 315-363-3050).
The Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre returns to the OPL with its latest show: Look Up: Tales from the Sky. The new play explores the mysteries of the universe and the wonder it can inspire in our imaginations.