Cheektowaga's North Branch Library will be filled with new volumes early next year, but they won't be the latest best sellers.
After the library closed 13 months ago, the town began looking at other uses for it. It will become the town's records center, replacing space the town leases.
"I'm hoping to be in by March," Town Clerk Mary Holtz said.
Before the move can take place, the building must be renovated, at a cost of $262,165.
M.J. Mechanical Services, 2040 Military Road, Town of Tonawanda, won the job for the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning work with a bid of $173,765. Electrical work will be done by Goodwin Electric, 121 California Drive, Williamsville. Arric Corp., 5033 Transit Road, Depew, will do the asbestos abatement for $60,300.
Holtz, who oversees the collection and maintenance of town records, said funding for the work will not be taken out of the contingency fund but will come from three sources, including this year's budget for her office. There was money in the town clerk's budget this year to run the elections, but it was not used because that function was taken over by Erie County. The town also received grants from the State Archives and through the town Community Development Department.
While acknowledging that the cost seems high, Holtz said residents should look at the project "in terms of the long run." She said it will pay for itself in five or six years.
"We're spending more than $60,000 a year in rent," she said. "It will also give access to the public eventually."
The records can't be thrown away, and storing them in the town-owned building at 735 Maryvale Drive also gives new life to a vacant building.
"I look at this library as a real boon for the town," Holtz said.
The state feels the same way. The town received an award from the Board of Regents and the New York State Archives for Excellence in Local Government Records Management, in part because it is establishing the record and archives research center at the former library.
The library was among those closed when the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library had to reduce a budget gap.