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B-A Library expansion to get underway

The Bellwood-Antis Library has plans to expand and recently purchased a four-unit apartment building which is situated directly beside the library.
Plans for the newly acquired area include the building of a 3,000 square foot children’s area.
Librarian Hazel Bilka said the new addition will feature a large window facing the railroad tracks. She explained the children love to see the trains go by and this will provide the opportunity for that to happen.
There will be new computers, strictly for the children up to fourth grade. Other plans include making the area child-friendly with things like child-sized furniture.
The children’s area that is currently located in the library will be transformed into a young adult section. There is currently a young adult section but it will be expanded.
“There will be more space,” said Bilka of the new area.
She added that one of the focuses here is on getting younger adults involved within the library. This section of the library is located near the current computer lab which is a popular place for young adults to visit while at the library.
“We would like to get some bean bag chairs,” she said. The hope is to make an area where teenagers will enjoy visiting.
Bilka explained that money has been put aside for several years now, with hopes that an expansion could happen.
“We knew we needed to purchase that building,” Bilka said of the neighboring apartments, “We’re pretty much landlocked here with the railroad tracks behind us, Main Street in front and the borough building on one side.”
She added, “We didn’t think this building would come up for sale so soon.”
The library purchased the apartment building from the Bellwood-Antis Community Trust.
If things go smoothly, it looks as if the apartment building could be torn down within the next two weeks.
As far as the next step, Bilka said that would be determined by how fast money can be raised for the project. She is hoping that individuals and businesses will get involved and donate. A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, agreed to match any funds raised, up to $100,000.
In regards to actually building the new structure, Bilka said in the best case scenario things will get underway this fall.