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Hornell Library reopens ‘stronger than ever’
After nine months of closure, the Hornell Public Library reopens to an eager public

Neal Simon

The Evening Tribune
Hornell Public Library clerk Kristen Williams checks out books for patron Linda Markham as the library reopened Monday after closing for approximately nine months due to COVID-19.

HORNELL — After nine months of closure, many of the first people through the doors at the Hornell Public Library Monday were some of its most loyal patrons who had been counting down down the days until the venerable Genesee Street building reopened.

 

Library staff, board members and volunteers were not taking it easy between last March 14, when the building was forced

to close to comply with New York state restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, and noon on Monday when operations began again.

Thanks to staff, volunteers and board trustees, the library underwent a complete interior redesign, resulting in a roomier, uncluttered and sharper organized layout.

Library finances are also on surer footing thanks to the passage of an increased tax levy. On June 9, 2020, Hornell City School District voters approved a proposition to increase the annual library levy from $184,700 to $334,700.

At least a dozen people visited the library during the first hour, a reasonable and steady relaunch, according to library employees. Staff expect business to pick up as word spreads that the library has reopened.

“I am so glad to have you folks open again,” an early visitor told library clerk Kristin Williams and IT staffer Bret Carter.

Moments earlier, Linda Markham of Hornell checked out an armful of books by James Patterson. Markham, a library regular, mentioned she had resorted to buying books during the period the library was closed. Markham was relieved to be taking advantage of the library’s free services again and she was impressed by the refurbished interior.

“It looks great. Everything about it,” Markham said. “It’s clean and it’s bright.”

Chris Carter, who was browsing the library’s newly-relocated DVD collection, was impressed as well.

“It is amazing what they have done,” Carter said. “Some of the cabinets have been handmade. Everything is re-categorized.”

Carter said he was an every other day visitor to the library before the closing, “But that just stopped because of COVID, so I am really glad to be getting back to some type of normal.”

For director Alice Taychert, the reopening was an opportunity to reflect on the value of public libraries.

“Libraries have a huge effect on the quality of life in the communities they exist in. There isn’t anybody in the entire United States that wants to lose their library,” Taychert said. “I would encourage people to think of the library as free as we can make it. No charges for library cards. No fines anymore.

“The library is open. We are stronger than we have been in years.”

New Library Hours

The library will be open from noon until 7 p.m., Monday thru Thursday; 1 until 5 p.m. on Fridays; and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday.

Chris Carter browses the Hornell Public Library's films collection in the new DVD room. The library reopened Monday after closing for approximately nine months.

Updated: May 3, 2021 — 2:23 am