Update on the Madbury Public Library

In 2001, the Madbury Public Library started in a closet within the Town Hall. 18 years later, they are set to move into their new building in November of 2019, as construction is scheduled to finish November 9th. One of the library’s pushing goals is to provide a space to better unite the community. The library has taken various actions with an attempt to provide more options and opportunities for the people of Madbury.

Since 2002, the Madbury residents have supported a Capital Reserve Fund to build the new library. Community members have watched as the new Madbury Public Library has been constructed over the past few months. Now that the wait is almost over, there are already many plans the community has for the new space. The new library is built around accessibility. It features a public community room and a children’s room with direct outdoor access, and is a huge upgrade from the library’s previous home: a small town-owned, ranch style house. The library is also open to incorporating high school students in need of volunteer hours or  a meeting place.

Ella Gianino (‘21) is a student at Oyster River High School (ORHS) who lives in Madbury. Gianino explains that she will often go to the Durham Public Library to study for midterms and finals. “I’m there almost every day after school [during midterms and finals] because my house is kind of crazy, as I have three younger siblings. It’s just nice to get a study room that you can have to yourself for a couple of hours to get some work done.”

The new library will provide opportunities for students like Gianino to gain volunteer hours and tutor students in the community. Gianino said, “I know it’s kind of difficult to put yourself out there and find people who need tutoring, but I feel if there’s that space and a set time, it will be a great opportunity not only for us to get volunteer hours, but for kids to get help and get work done that they need to get done.”

Laura Price is a Madbury resident who has children who attend Moharimet Elementary and Oyster River Middle School. Price and her family moved to Madbury nine years ago and were involved in summer reading programs and open book readings at the library for the first few years. Price admits that she may possibly utilize the tutoring sessions conducted by high school students for her own children. Price said, “I love the idea [of local student tutors] and I think that a lot of local parents would take advantage of that. I love the idea of having the older kids mentor the younger kids, and to have it take place right here in our community.” 

Price is not just excited for what the library offers for her children, but also intends to utilize the space herself. “People who have small businesses, like myself, who work out of their home but need a place to have a meeting, could use [the library],” said Price.

Noreen Gaetjens has been with the Madbury Public Library since the beginning. Gaetjens, along with other librarians and volunteers, have worked hard to make this library happen by fundraising and educating the community via public forums, social media, and neighborhood gatherings. Another task Gaetjens was faced with was finding an architect who can bring the town’s vision to life. “We chose five [architects] to take the next step and give us a conceptual idea of what they would do for our library. We chose the architect we thought best captured what we wanted and who was most excited about doing it,” describes Gaetjens.

Another aspect of the library is that the building will be very energy efficient. “The building has high efficiency mechanical systems and a super insulated envelope to allow for lower utility costs,” says Gaetjens. This will not only save energy and money for the community, but will also be more beneficial for the town and environment as the library gets older. Another aspect to the design was to make the library look like the town hall, church and other central buildings in town. This consisted of two large, traditional white peaks connected by a small doorway with a more modern touch.

The new Madbury Public Library is celebrating their grand opening on December 8th After so many years of hard work that the volunteers and community members put into it. This new space hopes to act as much more than a library, as it strives to be a space that can bring the community together. “We are so excited to be having this [new space], and I want to see it used,” exclaims Gaetjens, as she tours the interior of the new library.

Artwork by Hannah Jeong