Most of the second floor is now open to the public, accessible by elevator only. The Coolidge Museum is open, accessible through the Arts & Music section. The Arts & Music Magazine Lounge and part of the Hosmer Art Gallery are temporarily open as well. The Gallery and second floor lobby are awaiting the painters, so there will be a temporary closing of those areas announced when that work is scheduled. The stairway restoration is continuing and we anticipate that it will be available to use in about a month. The collections area, Arts & Music help desk and the Hampshire Room for Local History will remain open their regular hours.August 8, 2014 Update:
A large portion of the second floor is now open to the public. The collections area, Arts & Music help desk and the Hampshire Room for Local History are now accessible by elevator only. The Hosmer Art Gallery is awaiting the painters before it and the Coolidge Museum can be opened. The stairway restoration is continuing and we anticipate that it will be available to use in about a month. Thank you for your ongoing patience.
There was a fire on the front stairway Monday evening July 14 which destroyed part of the stair's banister and carpeting. The entire second floor and all the collections were covered with smoke, soot, and fire extinguisher dust. The city's insurance company hired a restoration cleaning firm to clean the books, dvds, cds, rugs, floors, walls, light fixtures, computers, furniture, ceilings, windows, and duct work on the second floor. The Williamstown Art Conservation Center cleaned the art work, artifacts, and sculpture that were affected, on Thursday, July 17. The art work is now in storage until the second floor is clean and they can be re-hung. The carpeting on the stairs will be replaced and the wood paneling on the staircase will be stripped and varnished. The hand rail and posts on the banister at the top of the stairs can be sanded down and restored. The turned balustrades will have to be replaced. Replicas of the originals will be made.
The restoration cleaners' original time estimate to complete the cleaning was three weeks of a crew working eleven hours a day, six days a week, for three weeks. If that estimate was correct we should be opening the second floor the week of August 11 or late in the week of August 4. In the meantime we hope that you will utilize the remaining portions of the library and ask us if you need something. A selection of DVDs and audio books are relocated to shelves in the first floor Reading Room as they are cleaned. Additionally, we may be able to borrow what you are looking for from another library in our network.
We are very grateful to Northampton's exceptional fire and police departments for their quick and thorough response to this situation as well as our staff and patrons for their dedication, patience and perseverance.