In the interest of full disclosure let me start by saying, “Yes, many years ago I was a Library Trustee and yes, I am now a part time employee working as a substitute on the circulation desk.” I guess I have more of an interest in the Library renovation than just that of a typical avid reader, but I do have to share some praise for those directly involved in the creation of our new and improved library/community center. If you haven’t made it yet, we hope you will come soon. – Lil
A couple of years ago the Library Board of Trustees determined that Bridge Memorial Library / Walpole Town Library needed to be expanded if it was to be the community center that today’s libraries are meant to be. It was also decided that tax dollars should not be used for the renovation. It was to be done solely through donations and fund raising. An architectural firm, Scully Associates was hired and a construction company, Bellows Construction Company found. The design was created and the funds needed determined.
Thanks to the generosity of the people of Walpole, the money was raised in just under two years so that construction could begin in May of 2019. An incredible number of volunteers assisted in moving books, videos, furniture and equipment to the upstairs of the Town Hall so patrons would have access to the materials throughout the hot summer months.
Trustees and the Library Director, Justine Fafara, spent countless hours revising plans and making the countless decisions that go into a project of this magnitude. What do we need to purchase new? What can be utilized from before? What paint colors should be used? Are moveable stacks, while space savers, really worth the expense? What kind of flooring will be best for a public building? As Chairman, Fred Ernst, said at the opening, “The best part is, the decisions were made, the project is over and the Trustees are still friends.”
Thankfully the large numbers of volunteers turned out again the day after the big December 2nd snow storm to move everything back to the “nearly finished” library. Builders, painters, flooring specialists and volunteers worked around and beside each other to get everything put back together. To say it was easy or smooth wouldn’t be exactly honest, but, to say it got done and is worth every bit of aggravation would be an understatement.
It is better than we could have imagined! It is difficult to remember what it was like before. The John and Carol Hubbard Community Room, the Ken Burns Reading Room and the Pam Howard Reading Corner all reflect the wonderful Walpole Community Spirit. And best of all, to again quote Fred at the opening, “It was completed on time and under budget!” What more could we ask for?
A BIG THANK YOU to all who contributed money and/or time – especially the Trustees who had the vision and the forethought to see this through to the end!