Albany Elks lodge to double as library

Books find temporary home as Pine Hills branch renovated

TIM O'BRIEN Staff Writer
Section: Capital Region,  Page: D5

Date: Friday, May 16, 2008

ALBANY - While the Albany Public Library's Pine Hills branch is being renovated, the books will be temporarily lodged in an unusual place.

For the next year, the Albany Elks Lodge, 25 S. Allen St., will house the library branch. A similar arrangement has been reached with the Albany Housing Authority for a temporary location as the John A. Howe Branch is renovated. The library's home in the South End for the next year will be at the authority's administrative offices, 200 S. Pearl St.

The two are among five library branches being built, relocated or renovated under a $29.1 million plan approved by voters last year.

Timothy Burke, the library's acting director, said the Elks lodge met its needs for parking, restroom access and space to provide service.

"We were looking around for a site that would be close to the current Pine Hills branch," he said.

Some renovations need to be made, so Burke said the lodge will likely open as a branch near June 2.

"They're in our neighborhood, a block away," said Robert Cantwell, chairman of the board of trustees for the Elks lodge. "The hours they wanted to use there didn't particularly conflict with us as a social club."

Members were very supportive of the move, especially knowing it would be temporary, he said.

"They thought it would be great to go to the Elks lodge and the library at the same time," he said.

The temporary location at the public housing authority will open sometime next week, Burke said.

Both sites will house smaller collections focused on new books, DVDs and CDs, he said. People who want older material can make a request through the interlibrary loan system and have the item delivered to the branch for pickup.

"We're happy to be able to work with these great community partners," Burke said.