The Chatfield Brass Band Music Library now has a sunny front office after its walls were insulated.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
The Chatfield Brass Band Music Library now has a sunny front office after its walls were insulated. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Staff members at the Chatfield Brass Band Music Lending Library enjoy the safer and more modern wired environment of their facility now, but they may not realize the best improvement made during a recent renovation project until the weather turns cold.

“It feels more like an office, but the thing I’m most excited about is being able to stay warm in winter,” said staff member Teresa Cerling, surveying the newly-insulated walls of the concrete block structure and thinking of this past winter’s ferocious cold, one of many that forced the library’s staff to wear gloves to do their work.  “We really did wear gloves, because our hands got cold while we were working at our desks,” she said.

The library, a staple for band music lovers worldwide, stood for years with its original west-facing concrete walls exposed to the inside, chilly even though the building is dug into the side of a hill. 

“We had an energy audit done two years ago, and they made a number of recommendations – one was to get a new furnace, and the other was to insulate the building’s above-grade walls,” said Cerling.  “Last year, we got a new furnace, and this year, we did the wall project, and as long as we were doing the walls, we decided it was a good time to upgrade the electrical service too, because we had a number of extension cords for our appliances, and the building was built before computers…we didn’t have enough outlets.” 

Generous private donations and a sum of savings that the CBB board determined wasn’t earning any interest were used to fund the project, which began July 31 and was completed just a few weeks ago.  After getting bids, the work was done by Hill House Construction and Huntington Electric, and Dan Hollermann of Computer Danamics assisted with setting up the library’s computer networking. 

“Because the building is earth-bermed, it made it cheaper for us,” Cerling acknowledged, adding that she’s excited not only to not wear gloves this coming winter while typing, but also to have a place to safely plug in her computer. 

“It was nice that the carpenter could come in when we were closed on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so that they could get the work done without having to work around us…it was not as disruptive as it could have been,” she said.  “We moved our computers to the aisle, and it was kind of close because once you get two desks and all the stuff that go with them in an aisle, it’s smaller than you thought.  We survived, though, and it was only a couple weeks.  They got the work done pretty fast, and now we have new network cables put in and more outlets so we don’t have cables across the floor for people to trip on.” 

Additionally, where there was a south-facing garage door, two new windows let in warm light, further cozying up the library.  Cerling and fellow CBB staff member Theresa Hayden anticipate the long, sunny winter afternoons without wool on their fingers.  Hayden, who observed the stacked file cabinets lining the walls, commented, “It feels more like we’re working in an office instead of a warehouse, too.”

Cerling noted that the library is a busy place even though local musicians are less likely to stop in to peruse its collections.

“We have two catalogers who have been volunteering here, and they’ve been getting hundreds of new pieces of music entered into our online catalog system.  There’s always something new being cataloged here,” she said.  “We’re always taking donations of money and cautious donations of music – we’re trying not to accept too much because we already have boxes and boxes to sort through – but we’re always taking donations, and we’re so glad to have these nice walls…we won’t have to wear gloves.”

The Chatfield Brass Band’s music library is open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  For more information, log onto www.chatband.lib.mn.us.