VINCENNES — Repairs on the McGrady-Brockman House, 614 N, Seventh St., will begin this year after approval of the work by the Knox County Public Library board of directors Tuesday.
Facilities maintenance director John Houchins calls the work the second phase of a three-part plan to maintain and upgrade the building, which houses the library’s historical and genealogical collections and dates back more than 150 years.
Houchins gave a brief report to the board Tuesday and said that contractors have toured the facility and the proposed work to be done has been divided by priority.
Part two of the three-part list is the shortest and the only part for which library director Emily Bunyan said there is enough money in the current year budget to do.
It includes replacing the rear entry door, removing the second floor exterior door and replacing it with a window and installing a new front ramp, door and sidelights.
Bunyan said with next year’s budget, the work could be finished.
Other parts of the plan involve removing some concrete behind the building, cutting down trees, landscaping improvements, installing a ramp at the rear that is compliant with standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and repairing some of the structural integrity of the building.
In other business, Bunyan said the library is also looking at expanding its e-book program, which she said is becoming more and more popular. Bunyan said staff members are getting more requests for electronic versions of books that can be downloaded to reading devices.
The rising popularity of the e-books has caused library staff to research several vendors with the intention of choosing one to provide an expanded catalog of e-book titles.
“We’re trying to establish which vendor is best,” said Bunyan. “We were inundated last year around Christmas when people got readers as gifts. Demand increased and it’s here to stay and we intend to embrace it.”
Bunyan is examining several plans which range in price, depending on the number of titles in each, from $5,000 to $20,000.
The library will likely choose a middle-of-the-road option initially with the intention of expanding the title list later on, Bunyan said.
Library patrons would be able to download selected titles onto their e-reader device, for a set amount of time, from any computer with internet access.
Once the checkout period is over, the e-book would be removed from the reader device.
There would be a limited number of copies of each title available, depending on which vendor plan the library decides to go with.