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Grand opening!

Kara King, a member of the Addison Township Library Board, does some touch-up work on the bookshelf murals she painted on the new library’s exterior. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
October 12, 2011 - Electricity is in the air this week as the Addison Township Public Library prepares to conduct the grand opening of its new facility on Saturday, Oct. 15.

"I think it's fantastic," said Kara King, a recent addition to the library board of trustees. "I think it will be a gathering place for the community, not just a library."

The public is invited to a special 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony at the spacious new library, which is located in the Lakeville Towne Square strip mall. The new address is 1400 Rochester Rd.

"Come and tour the library," said Library Director Jaema Berman. "Check out our wonderful new space. It's quite beautiful."

"I should think (the public) will be delighted by what they see. I would be if I were a resident of Addison Township," said Karen Lee Harrison, who lives in Brandon Township, but has worked at the Addison library for about six years.

On Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m., the library will host a "volunteer appreciation reception" to recognize all those who donated time, labor and materials to transform the new facility from concept to reality.

Since the library closed Oct. 1, volunteers have been busy as beavers installing shelving, packing and unpacking books, moving and arranging furniture, and sealcoating and restriping the parking lot.

"We've accomplished so much," Berman said. "We really couldn't have done it without all the support of so many individuals and groups. They've given up so much of their free time on weekends and weeknights in order to give themselves and their children improved opportunities for reading, learning and community interaction."

"We're going to be ready. We're on time and we're under budget," the director added.

"It's just been amazing to see our community come together the way it has," said Library Board President Evelyn Pickwick. "This has really brought a lot of people together."

"We managed to come under budget by better than half of what our initial quote was to make this happen," Pickwick noted. "The initial quote to move us was $120,000 and we're coming in below $60,000. We were expecting, with volunteers, to cut the budget in half and that's what we did."

The move even drew volunteers from outside Addison such as Sian Marshall, of Oxford, who read about the new library in the Leader and offered her services moving books.

"I had time on my hands and I saw your article in the paper, so I thought I'd come and give them hand," she said. "This is obviously a community that values its library services. I'd be real pleased to live here."

Pickwick was amazed at how "smoothly" the whole moving process has gone.

"We've had almost no glitches," she said. "Any time you have a major move like this you expect (to have) some things that are going to slow you up, but we haven't had that. Everything's gone so well."

The biggest change the library patrons will notice is all the additional room. The new facility is approximately 3,000 square feet compared to the old location's 1,200-to-1,300 square feet.

"There's lots of open space for people to congregate and have book clubs, more room for the kids to have storytime," King said. "I think it will be more of a community center. Hopefully, people will enjoy it."

"We desperately needed the space," added Harrison. "I'm very glad that we have room to grow. Hopefully, we'll have an increase in traffic and usage."

Berman is particularly excited about the expanded opportunities the public will have for internet access.

"We used to only have one public internet station that you had to stand at to use," she explained. "Now, we will have four (computers) that you can actually sit down and use."

Patrons are more than welcome to bring their laptop computers as the new library will also offer free wireless internet service, something that's available no where else in Addison.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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