Melody Scagnelli-Townley Bayonne Public Library Director
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Renovations at the Bayonne Free Public Library on Avenue C at 31st Street are progressing on schedule according to Bayonne Library Director Melody Scagnelli-Townley.  Reconstruction on the historic building began earlier this year, forcing a temporary shutdown.

Scagnelli-Townley stated, “Our main lobby was taken down to the studs. A new handicap-accessible ramp was built between the lobby floor and the dais. Our circulation area was relocated to the center of our lobby.  A new circulation desk, which incorporates our circulation desk from the 1950s, was custom-built and installed.” She continued, “Brand-new tile flooring is almost finished being installed, and the lobby has been repainted. New wiring raceways were installed on the dais for a new study area with charging tables. All of the furniture in the circulation area is being replaced.”

In addition, the Children’s Room has undergone major changes.  “Our Children’s Room was taken down to the studs. New lighting and a new ceiling were installed. A new tile floor was installed, the room was repainted, and new wiring raceways were added for our public computers.   Director Scagnelli-Townley added that “a brand-new Story Time area with stadium seating and special lighting is nearly finished. Most of the furniture in the Children’s Room is being replaced.”

Library-goers will also see major renovations to the Reference Room once the building re-opens.  Director Scagnelli-Townley said, “Our Reference Room had new wiring raceways installed for new public charging tables. Our old boiler system was completely replaced and the new system is undergoing final testing.”  Most importantly, “Our new public elevator was installed and is awaiting a state inspection. Our main entrance’s inner doors have been replaced to retain heat better in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. We’ve received and are awaiting the installation of nearly all our new furniture.”

Officials had hoped that the library would re-open around Thanksgiving.  However, Director Scagnelli-Townley explained, “Initially, we hoped for an end of November reopening.  Unfortunately, delays beyond our control involving furniture delivery, floor tiling, and elevator inspections made that timeline unachievable. We are very close to being finished with renovations. Then our Library staff will need some time to relocate and reorganize thousands of books and other materials before we can reopen to the public.”

Scagnelli-Townley concluded, “We are anticipating that we will be open to the public in late winter. We look forward to announcing an opening date as soon as possible in the first part of 2024.”

Until then, the Director says, “We will continue to keep you updated and will remain available for you at our temporary Story Court branch (16 W 4th St.), where you can access computers, printing, copying, study space, charging, and book borrowing and returns. We appreciate your patience. Great things are coming in 2024!”