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Gettysburg Public Library Envisions a New Home in the Rec Park

The Gettysburg Library has outgrown its current space in the Gettysburg Federal Building at the corner of Baltimore and High streets and is seeking a new location.

“We’re considering an option of building in the Gettysburg Rec Park,” said Adams County Library System Executive Director Laura Goss. “There are so many programming opportunities to partner with GARA –  Outdoor story times, group activities, and so much more. To me it would be more a partnership than separate activities,” said Goss.

The Library is Currently at the Gettysburg Federal Building

Goss said the move was necessary because the existing building is no longer a good fit for the library’s needs.

“It is a matter of how people use libraries now.  It’s about computers and public service rather than the books themselves, said Goss. When the library opened in 1992 you walked into a building that was your reference center. There aren’t as many books now because more things are online.  The library is more a gathering space for programming and other things.”

Goss said she thought it would cost about the same amount to upgrade the Federal Building as it would be to build a new one, and that the upgrade would still not meet the library’s needs.

“It’s not just that it’s old, but the library is not set up for the 21st century.  We wired for the computers 20 years ago.  The wiring is old and the outlets are minimal.” 

“Kids are using the library differently.  We have a lot of story times and early literacy programs. The current computer area isn’t very flexible.  We have a lot of people coming in to use the public computers,” said Goss.

Goss said that optimally the new building would be on one floor with a central checkout desk.

Goss said the library was considering other options as well.  We’re looking for a place that we can build or retrofit,” said Goss.

Goss said no location in the rec park had yet been chosen and that he park has a deed restriction that the property should be used only for recreation. The library is researching whether it would be allowed to build there.

“We haven’t gotten very far.  We’ve had a building study based on the community we have served.”  Goss noted.

Goss said the board was aware of the possibility that a new use for the current library might be hard to find. “We don’t want an abandoned building in town.  It’s one of the first concerns of the board,” said Goss.

Before moving to the Federal Building in 1992 the library was housed at 59. E. High Street, now the home of the Gettysburg Borough Offices.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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