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Marcellus, Skaneateles libraries make changes

Libraries are changing. Remember the days when a librarian would shush you at the slightest ahem? Those days are long gone.

Today libraries are community meeting places. Children are welcome to explore the world of reading; teens are welcome after school. A bevy of volunteers assist you with trained personnel over all. The future is now.

The big excitement in Marcellus is its new library that will be completed in April. After new furniture and shelving is installed, the library's collection will be moved from its longtime home at 2 Slocombe Avenue to Maple Street. A May opening is planned.

"It is very exciting -- the building is progressing," said Carol Johnson, who for the past three years has served Marcellus Free Library as its director and librarian. "Our circulation has been growing -- a 40 percent increase in the last three years. Hours were expanded; that made a big difference. We also made a big push for our summer reading program and increased our children's program. We dramatically increased our materials budget so we have more items.

"There will be an expanded children's room, something that has been really inadequate. It will quadruple in size," Johnson continued. "We are also adding a young adult area and adding a tutor room. There will be a large meeting room called the Community Room on the second floor that will be handicap accessible by elevator. Two smaller meeting rooms will be on the first floor."

The library's public use computers will be expanded from three to eight. There will be a small coffee bar in the front of the library, seating areas and more room for the collection.

"We are working toward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. We have a geothermal heating system, energy efficient lighting with daylight harvesting control so that if it is very bright outside it automatically turns down the interior lighting for energy savings," Johnson said. "There are so many issues for a new building. It is going to be the first green library in Onondaga County."

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