Long overdue, Providence Public Library gets a scrubbing

Long overdue, Providence Public Library gets a scrubbing

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A construction worker stood on a lift Wednesday morning scrubbing a sudsy material into the limestone facade of the Providence Public Library with a large brush.

The work, which has caused the sidewalk in front of the library’s Empire Street entrance to be closed off, is part of a multi-day cleaning process the library is undergoing.

It is all part of a $25 million rehabilitation set to be finished in early 2020.

The building’s limestone exterior is being cleaned now so as not to interfere with the installation of new windows and glass later in the renovation process, said Tonia Mason, spokeswoman for the library.

The Empire Street wing of the library, which was built in 1953, hasn’t been cleaned in its entire history.

“It’s kind of a big deal,” she said.

Construction crews soak the outer wall to saturate the stone and scrub it with cleaning agent before washing it off, said Eric Fontaine, construction manager for the library’s renovation.

They are also repointing the brick joints, which means taking out old mortar and rapacking them, Fontaine said.

Once the cleaning is done, black and grey spots that have speckled the wall over the years will be gone and it will be returned to its original brown color, he said.

As for the rest of the renovation project, the library is still early in phase one, which includes demolition of the auditorium and other parts of the third floor, ground level and basement, Mason said.

All of the library’s floors remain closed to the public except for the first and third floors and the garden courtyard in the 1900 building. The library’s Providence Journal Rhode Island Room, located off the Washington Street entrance, is open with normal services, including 12 computers, a collection of books and other materials for browsing, and reading and children’s areas.

Readers can also request books online through the statewide Ocean State Libraries catalog and pick them up at the Providence Public Library. The library recently expanded its hours to: Monday 12:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., Friday 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

 — mlist@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7121

On Twitter: @madeleine_list

Published at Wed, 24 Oct 2018 17:45:38 +0000