Throughout its history, the Bullock building, built in 1891, has housed a movie theater, general store, apartment spaces, and offices, and since it was purchased by the redevelopment committee, has been undergoing renovations including the installation of a kitchen, new roofing, and handicap-accessible facilities. The redevelopment committee sees the Bullock building as the centerpiece of the town and has turned the 3,000-square-foot first floor into a space for the community to use. The committee believes that the building would be the perfect spot for one of the community’s most frequented assets.
“The community has a vested interest in the building,” said committee chair Sue Bailey. “It’s centrally located in town and people think the current location (of the library) is good, but a walk to Main Street provides a central spot with a large enough space.”
While the community library has been in its current location shared with Readsboro Central School for decades, the library has faced new limitations on its hours of operations within the past year, after security concerns arose from the Vermont school board of insurance.
The library is different from others in that it can only be accessed from inside the school. Three doors connect the library to a classroom, the school’s main lobby, and the main classroom hub. Fire code does not allow any of the doors to be locked, and in the past, patrons of the library have attempted to exit through the classroom door. Bailey says the Bullock building would provide the library a space with no restrictions.
“A portion of the first floor could be designed for the library if the trustees were to determine how much space they wanted,” said Bailey. “I won’t say the building is ready to move into by any stretch but we’ll continue to pursue new grants, and if the library does decide to come in we can look for funding for that too.”
The community library has been in many locations throughout its history, including, at one time, the second floor of the Bullock building, and the current public works office on Main Street. Library trustee chair Mary Angus said that the library trustees are open to all options, one of which includes staying in its current location and installing a separate outside access.
“We (the trustees) decided we would investigate all future options available to us,” said Angus. “We’ve had difficulty where we are now, and we want to find out what kind of spaces are available, the cost of relocating a library, and the availability of things like public access.
“We support the restoration and use of the Bullock building, and we’re always interested in moving that project ahead, and that’s why we want to see what is available there.” While there is no official agenda for the committee and library trustee’s meeting with the Preservation Trust, the goal is to discuss and determine the space available in the Bullock building, the ability to create a library within it, and the funding it would entail. The committee would also like to hear any concerns the trustees would have over such a plan. Because the library is funded through the town budget, the public, as well as town officials, are encouraged to attend the meeting. For fiscal year 2013, the library’s line item in the town budget was $25,552.
The meeting will be held at the school at 3:30 pm on Thursday, January 16.
“The Bullock building has a long history of servicing the town,” said Bailey. “We would love to see the building really active again, and once again a vital part of the community.”