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November 2017: Round Lake Library - Clark House Structural Report

September 2017: Library Study Summary


Thank you to all who participated in the library survey distributed by the library study committee with WRLIS’s approval in August 2017. In particular, thank you to those who took the time to read the letter that accompanied the survey.  The primary goal was to inform the entire Round Lake community of the background and the scope of the study.  As explained at the July 2017 meeting we used the same public information mailing list as was used for the Water Survey which meant that it went to all Round Lake home owners. Additional copies were available at both drop off sites for residents who were not on the list. An online survey option was also available. The survey was mailed August 17, 2017 with a return date of August 25, 2017. The response was excellent, with over 100 people participating.


The Results of the Survey

The results are shown in two ways:

Summary, with duplicate responses removed, anonymous responses included (116 total)

   60%  1.  Continue maintaining Clark House with updates as possible

  23%  2.  Pursue the recommendations of the study

  16%  3. Fund further study to add onto Clark House


With anonymous responses removed (104 total)

   63%  1.  Continue maintaining Clark House with updates as possible

   21%  2.  Pursue the recommendations of the study

   16% 3. Fund further study to add onto Clark House


Either way, it is clear to WRLIS that the Round Lake community does not support any further action to address the future of the library that involves altering the use of Clark House as a library. The library study committee suggests taking steps to ensure the structural soundness of the building as well as making improvements for both the efficient use of space and improving the appearance.


The Study:

As then president of the Round Lake Library Board of Trustees, Bill Ryan appointed a group to study the future of the WRLIS library in September 2013. He called it the “Gordian Committee” (after the Gordian Knot of mythology, which challenged Alexander the Great). The name is appropriate: there are no easy solutions to the problem of how to plan the future of the library and attempts have been made several times in the past. The group consisted of Tom Bergin, Peter Sheridan, Nancy Theissen and Diane Marchand. They initially met in November 2013 with Sara Dallas, director of SALS (Southern Adirondack Library System) to discuss a plan of procedure. She indicated that Malta is the fastest growing community within the area that SALS serves and was very pleased that we were developing long range plans to meet those needs. She suggested:

  • conducting a study to determine the types of service most needed by our community

  • analyzing the statistics of our current library patrons

  • considering potential library size for future growth and possibly a centralized location in the event of a "new build"

  • contacting architect Paul Mays, a local library specialist who conducts such studies

  • contacting Libby Post, a communications consultant who has been instrumental in developing successful strategies and funding for such projects


We followed all of her advice and shared our findings at a WRLIS meeting on 2/20/14.


We presented a proposal for Preliminary Planning Services from Paul Mays. At that time the WRLIS membership insisted that any options for changes to our current library service MUST include at least one with a presence in the Village of Round Lake. A motion was made to that effect and approved.


Paul Mays presented his proposal at the 5/15/14 WRLIS meeting. WRLIS voted to hire Butler, Rowland and Mays to conduct the Library Study on both 9/18/14 and 10/16/14 (because of WRLIS’s 2% clause in the financial/investment agreement, a 2/3 majority at 2 consecutive WRLIS meetings was required)


At the request of Paul Mays a library study reporting committee was formed. Members were Jennifer Hurd (library director), Deb Albrecht (WRLIS president), Nancy Theissen (board president), Angela DeMeritt (Malta associate trustee), Diane Marchand and Peter Sheridan (Gordian Committee members)


The study was a process that included the areas listed below.



  • site visits with evaluations of both buildings

  • evaluation of options for improvements

  • evaluation of potential for a “shared” facility

  • review of community planning documents

  • evaluation of design strategies (solar, geothermal, etc)

  • recommendations for evaluation of potential construction sites

  • development of a document of constraints and opportunities for existing buildings and sites for improvements

  • development of a building conditions report



  • review the library’s Annual Report for demographics, circulation patterns and usage

  • review demographic patterns for residents of the chartered-to-serve area

  • review any existing long range plans for the library

  • review spatial needs of the library by conducting interviews with the director and staff

  • facilitate community workshops

  • develop a use of space plan

  • develop a summary analysis and review these documents with director, trustees, building committee



  • create conceptual design for future of library

  • prepare at least 2-3 floor plans

  • prepare alternate service models and compare

  • share probable construction cost with phases

  • develop descriptions of the utility systems

  • develop potential sustainable design features

  • prepare schematic furnishings

  • continuous communication with committee and staff

  • present plans at a public meeting



  • develop a public presentation strategy

  • prepare renderings of floor plans depicting any additions, renovations or proposed new site with new building

  • consider other presentation media

  • coordinate with a public relations consultant, if applicable

  • review press releases, mailers and fliers for accuracy

  • prepare graphic materials for grant applications and library’s information website

  • attend 2 additional public meetings to present project to the community


If we completed all these steps, Butler Rowland and Mays would assist us with selecting qualified professionals to conduct traffic studies, environmental impact, wetland analysis, storm water drainage, archaeological requirements, topographic, boundary and geotechnical surveys, and remediation of hazardous materials.


The first three areas were essentially completed in the fall of 2016, and the summary entitled “Committee Update Summary” is already posted on the  website. Since we never agreed on a design, the fund raising, public information and various studies were pointless. The library study committee realized that in order to move to the next steps, community understanding and support were essential so they asked Paul Mays to present his recommendations at a WRLIS meeting. He did so on September 15, 2016.  Public discussion of the project abounded. At the December 15, 2016 WRLIS meeting many attendees suggested further consideration of an addition to Clark House. Paul Mays submitted a proposal for this project in January 2017. A motion was made to extend Paul Mays’ contract for such purpose and it failed to pass.

Although the reasons for the study, the process, and the progress of the project had been discussed by WRLIS members at monthly meetings, others in the community were not always aware of this information. Therefore, we decided to draft a letter to all Round Lake Village homeowners providing background information about the library and the library study. Along with the letter was a survey to provide residents the opportunity to express their opinions about WRLIS’ next actions with respect to the library. Clearly those results showed that the village residents would like to “continue maintaining Clark House with updates as possible."


The library study committee wants to emphasize that they did not solve the Gordian Knot.  The issues and problems remain.

The survey results, questions and comments that came in with the survey (with no names attached) and this statement will be posted on the website.


WRLIS has the responsibility to ensure the structural soundness of Clark House and the library study group has already begun discussing the "next steps" necessary to do that. In addition we will look into making changes for more efficient use of space and improving the overall appearance. Any suggestions we have will be shared for discussion at future WRLIS meetings.

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