SCRANTON — Since first opening its doors to the public 120 years ago, Albright Memorial Library on Vine Street in Scranton has gone almost maintenance free.
“It has served the public well since we first opened our doors on June 1, 1893. And with some tender loving care, to the exterior in particular, it will be good for another 120 years,” said Jack Finnerty, the library’s executive director.
Finnerty is working on an application for a state grant that will hopefully help pay for renovations to the library building. Finnerty said more than a million dollars worth of fixes is necessary.
Crews have already started making the library more accessible. installing an elevator that will go to each floor. Most of the work that’s needed, Finnerty said, is to the stone exterior.
120 years of water erosion has taken it’s toll.
“All of these are very important, and at some point threaten the health of the building, but also could become a potential hazard,” said Finnerty.
Parts of the limestone have started falling off and library officials said these stones will need to be reinforced, and the distinctive dormer window will be re-done.
Once the work is done, the building will look the same as it always has and will stay a fixture of Scranton’s architecture.
“I would argue, and I think there are others that would second the notion, that this building is the crown jewel, this is the best of the best,” said Finnerty.
Finnerty said the renovations will take two years to complete, just as long as it took workers to build the library by hand over a century ago.