I recently visited the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the facility from their director, Christine McDonald. The greatly expanded library was LEED certified in early 2010 and I was looking to learn more about their building as it is the only LEED library project in NY, that I’m aware of, that included a renovation to a historic structure as well as a newly constructed addition.
The library boasts a daylight harvesting system (that works!), curtain walls, low-VOC paints, carpets and finishes, and a white roof but what really caught my eye was their Folklife Center.
Crandall’s Center for Folklife, History & Cultural Programs is housed in the basement but is immediately accessible down a lovely staircase visible from the main entrance. The Center offers:
- General Tours
- Archival Treasure Hunts
- Guess What I Collect
- Folk Artist Residencies
- Tape Recorded Interviews
- Photograph Your World
- Book Boxes
- Women’s History
- Essay Contest
- Genealogy Workshops
What I really like about this program area in a public library is the tie in to the commitment this library has made to its community to be a sustainable organization. The idea that the library has devoted so much space to the preservation and continuing education about a way of life, a way of life that celebrates nature and crafts in the Adirondacks, is a strong message of valuing the natural world that dovetails so nicely with the library’s LEED building.
Just as Louise Schaper had done at Fayettville, continuing their commitment to a sustainable facility into their day-to-day operations, Crandall has created a sustainability thread into services and programs. This reinforces the whole idea of sustainability or the “capacity to endure,” which really encourages the public to consider what came before them and what will be left for future generations.