By Alberto Gilman
The Newburgh Free Library Town Branch celebrates its 10th anniversary in the Newburgh Mall this coming August, but now a recent relocation announcement has raised some concerns.
On Monday, July 25, the Newburgh Free Library posted on their Facebook page a survey for the greater Newburgh community and patrons to provide input on the recent announcement that the current space where the town branch is located will not be available this coming fall.
The following statement was posted to the library’s Facebook page for public viewing, along with the survey: “At some point this fall, the Branch Library will be losing its space at the Newburgh Mall. We want to hear any thoughts, ideas and concerns that you, our valued patrons, have about possible new locations for the Branch Library. Your answers to this survey will inform our decision making during this period of transition. Thank you for your time and input!”
According to Newburgh Free Library Executive Director Mary Lou Carolan, the town branch welcomes 1,100 visitors per month, 13,200 in total per year. The current space has been rented at $1,000 a month for the past 10 years through an agreement with the mall management. The space was a former bookstore that the library converted into their current location.
According to Carolan, several spaces that have been considered and mentioned in conversations for possible relocation of the library have been the former Footlocker and Olympia Sports stores that are in need of repair work. The difficulty with moving the library is the repair work that will be required and the library does not have funds budgeted for such a project at the moment. Carolan also shared that she has reached out to Town of Newburgh Councilman Scott Manley for assistance to help navigate the situation for the town branch. Newburgh Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio also shared that though the town has little to do with the library or its location, it would assist in any way that they could.
“We were approached in June by the mall management to let us know that some time in the next few months the town branch would need to relocate to another part of the mall due to the fact that a restaurant has been slotted for the space that we are currently in,” Carolan said. “We have had several meetings with mall management regarding what our options are.”
Over the course of the last several months, the highly anticipated Resorts World Casino has been under construction in hopes of opening its doors this coming fall season. Inside the mall, Resorts World has established an office space for representatives and employees for their administrative work. The library sits in between the office space and the casino space.
Meghan Taylor, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Relations of Resorts World, provided clarification that the decision to relocate the library is not affiliated with Resorts World. Rather, that decision is carried out by the Newburgh Mall management team. Resorts World are lessors of the spaces and the current commercial footprint of the casino is not to expand, according to Taylor.
“We are considering all of our options. We hope to make a decision in the next couple of months,” said Carolan.
Newburgh Mall Management did not respond to multiple requests for comment.