Library space ‘maxing out’

Trustees consider expansion

Williston is a growing community, with new homes currently under construction in multiple locations and roughly 200 new residents in each of the past two years. The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library Board of Trustees is wondering how the library will keep pace. 

Board chair Steve Perkins advised the selectboard earlier this month that it’s time to start thinking about how the library can expand its space and staff.

“Sometimes you can’t even find a spot to stand in the library it’s so packed,” Perkins said. “We are maxing out. It’s worth studying and thinking about, and the library board will be looking at that very closely in the next couple of years.”

The board is unsure how much more square footage the library will require or where that space will come from — whether on the existing library building footprint or off-site in an annex-style location.

The library has been forced to expand its online services through the pandemic, as it has closed the building to patrons intermittently since the spring. Things like online library card registration and distribution of take-home craft kids for kids and adults have been implemented. Library Director Jane Kearns said those new service models and remote technology will remain part of the library’s abilities and offerings in future years. But pressure on the space and staff will persist nonetheless, she said.

“The space for our collection and the community are definitely going to be a challenge,” she said.

— Jason Starr