Richard Fortin needs much less imagination these days to see how the C.M. Bailey Library in Winthrop will look after months of construction and renovation.

“It actually looks like a library now,” said Fortin, the library’s director. “Up until now it just looked like a big, fancy banquet room or something.”

The view inside the library, which has been undergoing a $945,000 renovation and addition since the fall, began to change this week with the laying of new carpeting and installation of book shelves. Both projects are nearly two weeks ahead of schedule, Fortin said. He hopes to begin moving books out of storage and onto the new shelves over the next several days, which should reduce the month-long closing of the temporary library at Winthrop Commerce Center that Fortin thought would be necessary to set up the new library.

“My hope is if we can get a head start on that stuff we can keep the time we’re closed to two weeks,” he said.

The upstairs of the addition is essentially done, Fortin said. The only task remaining in the downstairs of the new addition is to lay the flooring.

“The inside of the new addition, within the next week or two, will be basically done,” Fortin said.


The job of installing a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the old building is nearly complete.

Fortin said crews are putting on the “final touches” before the system is activated next week.

“That’s a big moment,” Fortin said.

The only heat in the building at this point is from the old furnace, which has been removed from the HVAC system and placed in the center of the library and set up to blow hot air.

Other renovations inside the old building are nearing completion as well. Crews are replacing the carpet and 1970s vintage light fixtures.

“They’re not really renovating as much as restoring it,” Fortin said.


He expects all of the inside work to be complete within a month.

“We’re hoping the snow melts by then,” Fortin said. The outdoor work should take a couple of weeks and the library should reopen in early June.

The library in November moved from its Bowdoin Street location to a room inside the first floor of the Winthrop Commerce Center on Main Street. The library has use of an adjacent conference room for programs, which has allowed service to continue without interruption, Fortin said. The library had to pack up much of its inventory to accommodate the smaller space.

Fortin said the temporary library will likely close in the middle of May while books and other material are organized in the new building.

“When we’re talking about a month away instead of nine months away it just feels a lot better,” Fortin said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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