Meriden Library staff adjust to new locations, including Wallingford, during refurbishment

Kathy Butler has worked for the Meriden Public Library for nearly a decade.

Now, with the renovation and expansion of the Meriden Public Library underway, Butler’s office in the lending department has moved. For now, she is stationed at the circulation desk of the Wallingford Public Library.

“I have to say Wallingford has been phenomenal,” Butler said. “They were the ones who came up with the idea of ​​giving me a place in the office – to help clients.”

It turns out that many familiar patrons of the Meriden Public Library have visited the Wallingford Public Library, whose main branch is located at 200 N. Main St.

Butler is one of 18 Meriden Public Library staff whose assignments changed during the library’s temporary closure – which began in early January.

Library officials originally planned a partial closure of services for two to three weeks, with a reopening at Meriden Mall in early February. After experiencing some delays, library leaders are now planning a “soft” reopening of services in the space that once housed the Old Navy retail store on March 28.

While Butler works temporarily in Wallingford, his colleagues are currently working at various locations in Meriden.

For example, some of them were transferred to the Meriden public school libraries – to Maloney High School and Edison Middle School.

“Some of our collection is there,” Thomas Welsh, who chairs the library building committee, said of the decision to assign staff to these libraries.

And other staff work in the new Meriden Historical Society building at 39 W. Main St., which also houses the library’s collection of historical and genealogical items.

“A plan has been put in place to have staff stationed at those sites where we have some of the collection,” Welsh said, explaining that this will allow the library to serve the public from those locations.

Officials say no library staff were laid off during the transition. All employees, with the exception of library director Clevell Roseboro II, belong to an employee union – either the Meriden Supervisors and Professionals Union, Local 424-Unit 48, or Local 595 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Butler hours in Wallingford vary by day of the week. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she is present from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Meriden Library patrons with questions about the library’s temporary move to the mall can reach Butler by calling (203) 265-6754.

“Anyone who calls here with a question as long as I’m here, usually about four hours a day, I’ll take their calls,” Butler said. “If they come and need a library card, I’ll make a library card on the spot.”

As Butler and other staff adjust to the transition during their building’s renovation, she said the staff at Wallingford have “been phenomenal”.

“They were the ones who came up with the idea to give me a place in the office — to help clients,” Butler said.

Wallingford Library has seen an increase in foot traffic since the closure of the Meriden Public Library building, Butler said. “A lot of our customers come here.”

Journalist Michael Gagné can be reached at mgagne@record-journal.com.

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