Library DrawingThe CONNector

APRIL 2000Volume 2 Number 2

Connecticut Public Libraries - New, Expanded or Renovated

Chaplin Public Library

Mary Louise Jensen, Building Consultant

On January 15, 2000, the Chaplin Public Library was dedicated. Mary Louise Jensen, Building Consultant at the Connecticut State Library, was one of the speakers at the dedication ceremonies. Chaplin is a small rural town with a population of 2,048 located in Windham County, 6 miles northeast of Willimantic.

The new library shares a converted vacant elementary school with the Chaplin Senior Center. The library's portion of the building is 6,405 square feet. The total cost of the library portion of the project was $650,000, partially funded with a $200,000 State Public Library Construction Grant and a $100,000 LSCA Title II Construction Grant.

Chaplin Public Library
Photo by Steve Lakatos

As you enter the library, your attention is drawn to four carved wood support columns through which you view the paladin window at the other end of the library. The wood paneled circulation desk matches the columns creating a unified architectural feature. This desk allows the staff excellent visual control of the public areas. From the entrance you can also see all of the collections - reference, nonprint, and circulation desk to your right, children's to your left, and adult book stacks straight ahead. To create an open library space with natural light, some of the modifications that Kenneth Boroson, the architect, did were to remove the classroom walls and replace the windows, lighting, ceiling, and carpeting. Near the entrance there are restrooms and a meeting room that seats fifty. (The community center also has an additional meeting room).

The move from the old library, built in 1911, on top of a hill with no parking, no meeting room, no staff working space, and no running water to a modern well-designed building with parking allows Chaplin to provide much improved library service.

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