With renovations just about complete and the gardens all cleaned up by volunteers from the Block Island Gardeners, Island Free Library is busy planning a summer full of special events and programs.
Summer kicks off, of course, with the Bake, Book, and Bloom Sale, which will be held by the Friends of the Island Free Library on Saturday May 27 at 9 a.m. There will be the traditional offerings of baked goods, used books, and a front lawn filled with plants and flowers from Clark Farms.
Following that, on Saturday, June 3, there will be two events with award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson, one for children at 10:30 a.m. and one for adults at 4 p.m. Woodson is currently the Kennedy Center Education Artist in Residence where her book “The Day You Begin” has been turned into a musical.
Woodson writes for children and young adults and in 2020 was awarded a MacArthur Genius Award. Other prestigious awards include a Newbery Honor Medal, the National Book Award, and a Caldecott Medal.
Library Director Kristin Baumann told the Library Trustees at their meeting on Tuesday, May 16 that island students will each receive a Woodson book before June 3, and some have already been distributed. There are different books for preschool, elementary, middle, and high-school students, and Baumann said her staff has been busy prepping them with special touches including book plates and book markers.
There are other author events being planned for the summer that will be announced soon, although Baumann did say that one of them would be U.S. Congressman Jamie Raskin, who will present his book “Unthinkable,” which is a memoir about trauma, not politics. The event will be co-sponsored by NAMI-BI.
Rhode Island is implementing a new statewide library software program and Island Free Library, along with other libraries across the state, is in the process of migrating to the new system. Patrons should expect to bring their library cards with them in order to check out materials this weekend. The migration should be complete by May 22.
Baumann said the timing was not ideal, and she wished it was being implemented in January, but “here we go!”
The trustees got a briefing from contractor Lucas Silva, who is wrapping up work on the building that involved replacement of windows and doors, shingling, and various other things. As of the meeting date, he anticipated finishing up in about three workdays, with a focus on getting interior work wrapped on Sunday and Monday when the library is closed.
A parting suggestion was that the trustees consider purchasing new gutters instead of having him put the old gutters back up. Silva said he gotten a quote of $3,100 for new gutters, which includes all costs, from supplies and labor to travel. By not having him put the old gutters back up, the trustees would save $1500. This meant that new gutters would only cost an additional $1,600.
Silva also recommended the trustees think about putting flashing on the corners of the building, “where the majority of the rot was.” He suggested using copper and said he had asked a coppersmith for an estimate but had not yet received one. He also had a request: remove the plants along the right-hand side of the ramp going to the rear door. Those plants, he said had grown up three feet behind the shingles on the side of the building.
When Silva wrapped up his report, Baumann said “A lot of people are telling me how good the building looks.”
As far as deciding on the new gutters, Trustee Dave Sniffen said, “We shouldn’t even think about it.” A bit later he said, “Even the interest we’ve made on our CDs would cover that.”
There are other places the trustees could get the $1,600, and Baumann said “You’re right. We have a few sources. We also have a maintenance line for the building itself.”
A motion to purchase new gutters was approved and Silva said he would supervise the installation, which could happen as soon as the installer can get a reservation for a box truck on the ferry.