The goal of the Friends of the Wardsboro Library is to expand the library into the barn for a new adult and young adult area. The full details of the project as well as an artist’s rendition of what the library will eventually look like when it occupies the barn space are at www.friendsofwardsborolibrary.org.
Last fall the interior of the barn was foam-insulated floor-to-ceiling, and the Friends have been working on a plan for funding the materials and contract labor for the drywall installation. Until that was done, the Friends were unable to use the barn space for any events because of the exposed foam. Wardsboro resident Ken Davis proposed to the Friends that the drywall project could be completed in “old-fashioned Yankee barn-raising style” with an all-volunteer team. Davis took the initiative to organize a crew and to assist the Friends in estimating the amount and cost of the materials.
Bright and early on Saturday, June 9, Davis’s “gang” showed up for what he had advertised on the posters around town as “Sheet Rock Day.” By 8:30 am, four teams had begun working to install the massive 12-foot sheets of 5/8-inch drywall. Helping the teams of installers - all of them pros - were a number of “floaters” on the floor who untangled extension cords, refilled screw guns, rolled staging into place, handed around the knives, saws and chalk lines, swept and cleared the dust and scraps, and hoisted the incredibly heavy sheets of drywall from flat on the floor to upright on the wall, one by one.
Five hours later the entire interior of the barn was completely done and the crews all packed up. “I was blown away by how these guys worked,” said John Gifkins, one of the floor crew. “I thought we’d be there all day and then have to come back on Sunday. I never saw anything like it.” Sally Wadsworth, a member of the Friends said, “I was there at 10 am and could not believe the work they had already done. It was so great to see such an enthusiastic volunteer effort in a small town. It looked like ‘Extreme Makeover’ - they were working at such a pace!” The crew stopped only briefly around noon for a quick pulled-pork sandwich picnic lunch, set up and served by Karen Davis and library board members Carol Backus and Nancy Perkins. The meal, as well as morning coffee and doughnuts, was prepared and donated by Ken and Karen Davis.
The Friends of the Library believe that buying local and staying local is valuable to the community. The drywall materials were obtained with the help of Rob Wadsworth of the Wadsworth Company, WW Building Supply and Jeremiah Longe. Wardsboro resident Larry Landman provided his professional equipment for the volunteers including cordless screw guns, sheet rocking T-squares, and three sets of staging. He also provided a lot of good advice. Landman and his workers have been contracted by the Friends to complete the drywall installation by taping all the seams and painting one coat of primer. Landman’s contract, which he offered to the Friends at a substantial discount, is being funded by donations from the community and special fundraising by the Friends.
The list of volunteers who contributed their labor and good cheer on Sheet Rock Day included: Lucas Bates, Ken and Karen Davis, Charley Densmore, Bob Fanciullo, Dick Fay, John Gifkins, Garrison Holden, Landman, Roger Riley, Backus, and Perkins. Crew chief Davis estimates that the value of the donated labor that day was about $1,500.
When the installation of electrical outlets, switches, and lighting fixtures is complete, the barn space will be ready for the installation of heating elements. The Friends are currently looking for bids and estimates on that part of the phase-two project. Phase three will be the final build-out of shelving and furnishings, and the Friends are pursuing a capital campaign to cover the future costs so the library can expand into the barn area as well as occupying the farmhouse.
Residents, second-home owners and others who feel inspired by these stories and who want to add to the success of Sheet Rock Day with a post-event donation, may make a safe and secure donation by credit card or PayPal on the Friends website, www.friendsofwardsborolibrary.org.
The Friends are proud to have the chance to show off the interior of the barn on July 4 and 5 for the annual Wardsboro Street Fair Art Show, where sales of the artwork and crafts benefit the Friends, and again on August 11 during the community’s best summer cocktail party and silent auction, “The Red Barn Affair.” To reserve tickets ($12) to the event, call or email the Friends at (802) 896-3416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.