From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian
That date holds a special place in the history of our library. After weeks of clearing off the lots behind the Carnegie building, the library held a groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of our building project on June 12, 1996: an addition that would double our square footage as well as provide handicapped accessibility and more useable space.
It was a sunny day, full of hope and optimism. Children from Community Day Care, complete with appropriately-sized shovels, assisted officials in turning over the hard, dusty soil as an appreciative crowd applauded. (Fun fact: I was here the night before with then-director Dottie Thomas watering the ground so shovels could actually penetrate the ground). I remember the excitement and laughter as everyone, myself included, anticipated what would soon be built where we stood that morning.
Jump ahead a year and that excitement had turned to stress as staff and a myriad of volunteers began the daunting task of moving from the old building into the new addition. When I look back to those two weeks, I marvel that it got done as quickly as it did, but that’s because so many people helped to move books and furniture. Everything had to be out of the old part before renovations could begin and we were on a timeline. It was definitely an “all together now” project, and we re-opened in the new addition on June 27, 1997.
And then, two years to the day of the groundbreaking, we held the dedication of the (finally) finished new and improved library. Things weren’t perfect but June 12, 1998, was another day of joy and excitement.
Twenty-five years later, I think the building has held up fairly well (better than I have!) It’s overwhelming to think of all the people who have come through our doors and how things have changed since those dusty clods were overturned. I get a bit verklempt, though, when I realize how many people who celebrated those milestones are no longer around to enjoy today’s successes. Did any of us had a clue back then how much the library would accomplish?
I invite you to come in on June 12th (that’s Monday) to walk around and enjoy the fulfillment of the dream that community members had more than a quarter century ago. Send up a silent “thank you” (it’s a library after all) and check out a armload of books to commemorate the day.