This story has been updated to provide a comment from TCPL Director Leslie Tabor.
The Tompkins County Public Library will close beginning Friday, Sept. 15 to update its heating, ventilation and cooling systems, and is currently scheduled to reopen Tuesday, Oct. 3. The other 32 members of the Finger Lakes Library System — a cooperative system of independent libraries meant to coordinate and strengthen library services between Cayuga, Cortland, Seneca, Tioga and Tompkins Counties — will maintain normal operating hours.
The closure was first announced in a press release on TCPL’s website and stated the reason for updating its HVAC system was to make it greener, pushing Tompkins County toward its sustainability goals of net-zero emissions.
“An updated and improved system will make the facility more environmentally friendly, more energy efficient, help the building heat and cool better and more consistently, and prevent maintenance issues in the future,” Asia Bonacci, TCPL’s communications coordinator said in the press release. “This means the Library will remain nice and cool in the summer and warm and dry in the winter.”
The TCPL, founded in 1864 by Ezra Cornell, is the central library for the FLLS and has 38,000 registered borrowers who check out the over 250,000 items in its collection 800,000 times a year. It also serves as a community space, with over 100 community groups using its premises as meeting spaces.
Any books originally due during this time will have their due dates adjusted around the closure, according to the press release. Materials checked out on or after Aug. 21 will be due on Oct. 5 or later. Holds cannot be placed on any TCPL items during the closure, nor can items be picked up at TCPL as staff are not permitted to access the premises. However, the book drops as well as Libby, Hoopla and Kanopy — all methods to access digital library materials — will remain available 24/7, and there will be no overdue fees, as per TCPL policy.
During the closure, TCPL staff will participate in off-site professional development programs, including sexual harassment prevention, programming philosophy, identifying community needs and connecting with Cornell and Ithaca College libraries, according to the press release.
“We are excited about the updates to the HVAC system and appreciate the County’s efforts to be green and take preventative care of the Library building,” TCPL Director Leslie Tabor wrote in an email to The Sun. “I’m also very excited about the professional development time this project is providing us. As an important public service, it’s hard to find time for all staff to meet as a full group and talk about library trends and challenges. We will miss our patrons during this short closure, but we will be out and about at the Tuesday Market at Dewitt Park, at the Apple Harvest Festival and the fall Friends of the Library Booksale begins on Oct. 7.”
Those looking for updates after the closure should check the TCPL website.