Library patrons headed out the doors of the old public library in Petersburg Friday afternoon carrying armloads of books and root beer floats. Staff and residents marked the closure of the facility on the second floor of Petersburg’s municipal building, with excitement for the opening of the new public library in just over a month.
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Teacher Dan Sullivan and the group Kids Rock entertained the crowd Friday, as area residents loaded up with bags of books for the next month. The library encouraged people to take out as many as they wanted and keep them until the new facility opens.
Borough librarian Tara Alcock was glad the last day had finally arrived. “It feels wonderful, it feels really great. It’s definitely a day we could never imagine coming and all of a sudden here it is, so very exciting.”
The municipal building was built in 1959 and the public library moved there from the telephone exchange office the following year. Supporters of a new facility have been planning for an upgrade for over a decade, faced with cramped quarters, a leaky roof and other problems in the second floor space.
Alcock was not feeling any nostalgia for the old library building. “I think that the staff has done a pretty incredible job of running a really good program in this library for a lot of years and sort of working against the tide of problems they encounter, I think they’ve done an admirable job and I think that its gonna be wonderful to see what they can do in this new facility.”
Library board president Mary Ellen Anderson was feeling a little more melancholy with the closing of the old facility. “And while we look forward eagerly to the opening of the new library up the street, let’s take a moment to pause and remember all the wonderful times we’ve had here. From the story times, special programs, the film festivals, I’m sure you’ve got things of your own that you can think of that are your favorites, the Christmas literary, that always one of mine, so many things. All the access to the books, the media, the computers, the list goes on.”
Anderson also remarked on the effort to build the new library . “It’s truly an end of an era to which many librarians, pages, clerks, technologists and then all the volunteers in the community and all the people who’ve used the library have contributed greatly. Today we close the doors for the last time at 4 o’clock and then we look forward, up the hill, to a great new era that lies ahead of us in our fabulous new building so thanks to everyone who’s worked so hard to make it happen once again.”
The finishing touches are going on the new 10-square foot library two blocks up the street and staff and volunteers will be moving the operation there in the next month. Librarian Alcock says her staff is geared up to make the move with some help. “I think the staff are pretty geared up to tackle it and we’ve got a nice list of wonderful volunteers we’re gonna call on mid-month to actually help pack the books into boxes, in order, and then the local moving company will take them up to the site and then will have those volunteers help us take those books out of the boxes, in order, put ‘em back on the shelf. And then we have to make sure everything’s in its place before we open.”
The new library is scheduled to open September 3rd.