Town library's newest chapter to open mid-May

HUDSON – Moving is always a hassle, no matter how much planning you think you’ve done.

But all things considered, the mammoth project of packing up 100 years’ worth of often weighty, sometimes unwieldy possessions is going quite well for the staff and volunteers at Hills Memorial Library.

Library officials have their sights set on mid-May for a soft opening for the new George H. and Ella M. Rodgers Memorial Library. That’s roughly a month after the scheduled April 18 closing of the historic Hills.

While Hills is closed for the estimated three to four weeks, cardholders “in good standing” can borrow books and media at the Aaron Cutler Memorial library in Litchfield or the Nesmith Library in Windham, according to Hills spokeswoman Amy Friedman, the adult/teen librarian. Anyone wishing to use the service must get a validation of “good-standing” status by coming to Hills before April 18, Friedman said.

Additionally, any books or media borrowed from Hills up to April 18 will have their due dates extended to May 18.Although no library services will be available while Hills is closed, the rear door will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily to allow residents to pick up tax forms or drop off applications for the Leonard A. Smith Scholarship Fund in a box provided by the Friends of the Library.

(Scholarship applications may also be mailed to Jane Bowles, c/o Hills Memorial Library, 18 Library St., Hudson, NH 03051.)

Meanwhile, those who prefer to browse and do research online should encounter a brief interruption. Friedman says the staff anticipates the library sites will be down for one day at the most, perhaps just a half day.

“That’s all we should need to move the computers and start them up again,” she said.

Overall, though, the planning process has needed a lot of educated guesswork.

“There have been many things going on as we get ready to move,” Friedman said last week. “Right now, our best guess is (opening) around May 18. . . .

“We’re not sure how long it will take to move and set up, though. We’ve never moved a library before,” she added with a laugh.

Friedman said there also has been a lot of guesswork in pinpointing details such as getting lines painted in the parking lot – which by law must be done before the building can open.

“They can’t do that until it’s warm enough and the weather cooperates,” she said. “We’re hoping the first half of May is pretty dry this year.”

On the inside, crews are focusing on wrapping up the finish work, a major part of which is getting the carpeting laid so materials from Hills can start coming in.

“The movers can’t bring anything in until everything’s done and the contractor signs off,” Friedman said.

As for the grounds, a spring cleanup and series of plantings will take place in late May and early June to spruce up the green space between the building and the road. A small courtyard with chairs and tables for patrons and staff is planned for the side facing Derry Road.

Then comes the big event – the June 7 grand opening, which will also serve as a 100th birthday celebration for the historic Hills, which was built by prominent town resident Dr. Alfred Hills in memory of his late wife Ida Virginia.

Since ground was broken last June, librarians, staff and residents alike have been looking forward to occupying the new 15,000-square-foot library, which sits conveniently between Hills Garrison Elementary School and Alvirne High School.

The groundbreaking culminated some 30 years of discussion, debate and defeats at the polls for library advocates. The milestone was made possible by native Hudson brothers G. Philip and Alvin H. Rodgers, co-founders of Rodgers Brothers Builders, who stepped forward with a $4 million donation for a new library to be named in honor of their late parents.

For more information on move updates, the Smith scholarship and links to the Rodgers Library, visit