Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Local News

A New Look at Deep River Library


Deep River Library Director Susan Rooney is eager for the day when patrons can return to see upgrades to the facility made during the recent closure. 

Photo courtesy of Susan Rooney

Deep River Library Director Susan Rooney is eager for the day when patrons can return to see upgrades to the facility made during the recent closure. (Photo courtesy of Susan Rooney )

When patrons return to the Deep River Library at the end of June, there will be new things to see if they can take their eyes off the welcome shelves of books. The library, closed since mid-March, has used the down time for some welcome renovations.

“It’s been a silver lining, if you want to say that,” said director Susan Rooney.

There is new carpeting throughout the building, some of it industrial grade, but in the reading room, more elegant floor covering. Some of the staff came in during the closure to move furniture and books to enable the carpet laying to proceed smoothly. Contributions from the friends group and the supporters of the library paid for the project.

“It looks absolutely beautiful now,” Rooney said.

One of the benefits of the way the carpet was laid is that the pocket doors at side of the reading room can once again be used. The old carpet prevented them from opening. The doors have carved designs, part of the original structure of the library, built as a private house in 1881. There is a possibility that another set of original doors, now in the attic of the library, can also be installed where they once hung in the reading room.

The town paid for some other improvements that staff and borrowers will feel rather than see. Both the heating and air conditioning systems have been upgraded.

“In the summer people were hot; in the winter cold,” Rooney explained, adding she herself used a space heater to stay warm.

In addition to the system upgrades, the town also paid for LED lighting throughout the building.

When the library reopens, according to Rooney, the number of patrons in the building at one time will be limited to maintain social distancing. Five people will be permitted for the adult section and Rooney added that the first hour will be reserved for senior citizens. An additional five borrowers will also be permitted in the juvenile and teen section, though the picture book section for the youngest children will be closed.

Nonetheless, children, accompanied by an adult, will be allowed in the building. Librarians will retrieve books from the children’s section for patrons, but toys cannot be taken out at all.

All patrons are asked to wear masks and gloves. The library will have both if people come without them.

Only two of the library’s six computer terminals will be available. Rooney explained that since occupants will be limited, the library didn’t want computer users to take up too many of the available slots.

“We want people to be able to come in and take out books,” she said,

To give borrowers the opportunity to access a larger collection, the library is a member of Biblionation, the largest book consortium in Connecticut, making it possible to get titles from other participating libraries. Chester and Killingworth also belong to Biblionation, Rooney said.

In addition, the library has added a new digital media service, RB Digital, which will enable patrons to take out e-books and audio books.

Until the late June opening when borrowers are welcomed back into the building, the library will continue to operate limited curb service with patrons emailing requests for books they wish to take out.

For more information on the Deep River Library, visit the library’s Facebook page or

Rita Christopher is the Senior Correspondent for Zip06. Email Rita at

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