Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there construction at my library?
The Will Library is currently getting a major exterior renovation that has been in the planning stages for many years. This is an exciting chance to refresh our historically important building and make it both more welcoming for users and more sustainable for generations to come.
What exactly will be done?
The renovation will be focused on replacing concrete slabs which make up the exterior of the building and replacing and updating the windows in the main reading room, which runs along Central Park Avenue. These slabs have no insulation or vapor barrier. This has allowed water to get behind the panels and start rusting the fasteners that hold them in place on the building. The windows are currently single-pane glass that will be replaced by double-pane heat-reflecting glass for better insulation and a quieter interior.
How long will this take?
We expect that this stage of the renovation will take approximately 6 months.
Can I still use the library during this period?
Yes! The library will be open and we will still be providing our very best service to the public. We are planning a very active summer reading program this year and are still getting new books and materials every day.
What is happening with the colorful shades outside?
They are being taken down for the renovation. While they are bright and colorful on the outside, they cut into the amount of sunlight that gets in and can make the main reading room feel claustrophobic. Removing them will open the space up to much more natural light. We are exploring a variety of ideas for the sun shades once they are removed including possible art projects which will incorporate them into the landscape around the library. We will, of course, be keeping a number of them for their historical and aesthetic value.
Does this take away from the historical significance of this building?
Not at all. The building is considered significant for its use of thin shell concrete and the soaring arches of the main reading room. The sun shades were originally added to rectify a design flaw that allowed too much light into the main reading room. The new plan pays homage to the original colors by incorporating it into the final sunshade design, while also greatly improving the energy efficiency of the library. The new design has been reviewed by the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and will help highlight the classic mid-century architectural details of the building.
Why is this good for the library?
The exterior of the building offers no insulation. The concrete slabs encasing the library are few inches thick, while the windows in the main reading room are single pane glass. The library is unable to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the seasons. During the summer months, we must keep the air conditioner running 24-7 and during the cold months, the furnace runs all night long on a high setting. The renovation will make the building far more energy efficient and make it brighter and more comfortable. The Will Library is a gorgeous, historically important building. These changes will highlight that importance and modernize the building for our current and future patrons.