Ground breaks at library

Million-dollar Bayfield facility will include additional 4,000 square feet

The Lavenia McCoy Public Library in Bayfield broke ground Tuesday for an expansion that will add 4,000 square feet of space as seen in this rendering. The space will include meeting and programming space as well as additional room for collections. Enlarge photo

Photo courtesy of Lavenia McCoy Public Library

The Lavenia McCoy Public Library in Bayfield broke ground Tuesday for an expansion that will add 4,000 square feet of space as seen in this rendering. The space will include meeting and programming space as well as additional room for collections.

By any measure, Bayfield is a library town. On Tuesday, it broke ground for a $1.4-million, 4,000-square-foot expansion to add more meeting rooms, program space and collection area to the Lavenia McCoy Public Library.

The scheduled project-completion date is January 2013.

“The first library here was the size of the current meeting room,” said Ann McCoy Harold, who would know, because the current library was named in honor of her mother. McCoy began volunteering at the library the second day after she moved to Bayfield in 1939 and served on its board for more than 50 years.

The library, which also serves surrounding areas including Vallecito, has 7,175 active patrons with an annual checkout rate of 100,000 books and other materials. Its current meeting room is so popular, the library often has to turn groups away, Assistant Director Amron Gravet said.

The Bayfield area has a library district, and Gravet said the district has been saving for eight years, since the new library opened in 2004, to pay for the expansion.

“We’re writing some grants to add some nice touches to the new building,” she said.

Among the 30 people attending the groundbreaking were members of the library district board, Friends of the Lavenia McCoy Public Library, FCI Constructors, which will be building the expansion, and Dennis Humphries of Humphries/Polis Architects, the designers.

“I’ve been involved in designing more than 60 libraries,” Humphries said. “This has been the most exciting journey, because everyone here brings such passion and excitement to the project.”

Humphries designed the expansion after a series of public meetings this winter.

“They say I designed the building,” he said. “But you all designed it, you all get the credit.”

The Friends of the Library has already committed to a donation of $30,000, which will be used to build an indoor/outdoor fireplace and quiet reading room.

“We’re hoping to donate another $100,000 for the outside, to make it a true indoor/outdoor library,” Friends President Judy Gotthelf said. “One thing that is still on the drawing board is forming a gardening club to help maintain and manage the outdoor gardens that we envisage.”

McCoy, who’s well into her 90s, still stops by the library most days and wouldn’t have missed the groundbreaking for anything, she said.

“I like the way the community has a place to use, and they use it,” she said with a grin. “When people come here to visit, the first thing they say is ‘Where’s that library?’”

abutler@durangoherald.com