SCRANTON — A project to fix the façade on Lackawanna County’s oldest library is underway.
The building in Scranton is 123-years-old and officials said the project may save it from demolition.
Since scaffolding covers the front of the Albright Memorial Library in Scranton, visitors need to go in through an elevator entrance in the back.
Kate Davis of Ransom Township doesn’t mind, she can get a closer view of the building she’s grown to love.
“It’s beautiful, it’s one of my favorite buildings that I’ve ever seen. I love it, the architecture is gorgeous. There’s only a few buildings left like this,” Davis said.
A private mansion donated to Scranton as a library in 1893, Albright Memorial has seen a lot of traffic, and erosion, over its 100-plus years. A contractor is now working on a $1 million project to replace parts of the pointed windows, or dormers, and smooth out all of the limestone.
“Particularly during the last 15 to 20 years, there have been some failed stones that have actually fallen to the ground. I think we’re doing this in the nick of time,” said library director Jack Finnerty.
Finnerty said the library won a state grant for the project and raised more money through donations.
Library-goers were happy to see the scaffolding go up.
“It’s a fantastic library, and I’m so glad that they are doing the renovations. This is state of the art stuff here, you couldn’t get this built anymore,” said Ken Marsh of Scranton.
No one knows exactly what could have happened if these repairs were never made. But, Finnerty said the work definitely guarantees a longer life for the building.
“I think this gives the building another 50 to 75 years,” Finnerty added.
Library officials plan to reopen the front entrance in October, taking two years from start to finish. Just as long as it took to build the library by hand all those years ago.