DOVER >> A new cafe is opening up and it's inside the local library.
"We're excited," said Dover Free Library Director John Flores. "We're coffee drinkers here."
Tours are currently being given. But a grand opening ceremony on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. will officially introduce the cafe as part of the institution. A big turnout is expected. Treats for the event will be provided by the West Dover-based Sticky Fingers Bakery.
A very quiet and regular visitor of the library recently remarked that the library would be the closest place to grab a cup of coffee. The same man turned to his companion while leaving and said, "I love this library." This story, shared by Flores, serves as a reminder for what the staff is trying to do: inspire more visits and longer stays.
The idea for the cafe came sometime around 2003. Children's librarian Tamara Hamm planted the seed.
The Selectboard approved funding for electric work at the coffee bar and insulation in the bathroom. Old sinks and cabinets were removed. A new wall was built in the work room. The little entrance allows staff members more privacy.
Everything else came out of the library's capital fund. The cafe came in at the approximate $4,000 estimate presented to the library's Board of Trustees.
"The electricians were a little under because they forgot to put one plug in," Flores said, adding that it would not make much of a difference. "The floor's really nice. It's one of those portable floors you can pick up and move about as you want to. It's really a dance floor."
Purchased were coffee carafes, new cabinets, high tables and items to make tea. Patrons can bring their own computers to use in the cafe.
So far, Flores said there's been nothing but compliments.
"The staff, of course, we love it. Even the public loves it," he said.
Ben Carr, of Saxtons River, began work in November. He installed cabinets, insulated and soundproofed the bathroom, and set up the partition. He even built a table himself, which Flores calls magnificent. Library staff members ordered and assembled the other tables.
Last week, electricians finished up the wiring and the project was completed. Four electrical outlets and special plugs for computers were put in.
"We need to get a couple more things. Coffee, containers, cups," Flores said. "But the cafe is done."
Still to be addressed are details around dealing with trash and recycling. Also being proposed are power plugs for smart phones and other devices.
Now, Flores is talking to the Board of Trustees about minor renovations in the building. That could mean new shelves and shades.
"We want to be able to make the library as inviting as possible," he said noting that both boards plus the community at large have been supportive of the cafe.
Since the library is not a business, items cannot be sold there. The cafe will be run by donations. Visitors can donate coffee or money for it. And pastries or baked goods can be provided as donations.
The cafe will be the only designated section where food and coffee is permitted. With hot items and high tables, children under the age of 14 will not be allowed into the room without a parent or guardian.
"We don't want them to get hurt," explained Flores.