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Volunteer-built library linked to pioneer spirit

Leonard resident Eric Wright reads with his children Norah, 6, and Eli, 2, during Saturday’s grand opening of the Addison Township Public Library. (click for larger version)
October 19, 2011 - "In Addison Township, we don't just write a check for a library, we build it."

Supervisor Bruce Pearson summed things up nicely Saturday morning during the grand opening ceremony for the new Addison Township Public Library, located at 1400 Rochester Rd. in the Lakeville Towne Square strip mall.

The new 3,000-square-foot facility was created in large part through the sweat and toil of countless, dedicated volunteers who worked long hours doing everything from demolition and clean-up to painting and moving books to sealcoating the parking lot.

"We don't ask everybody to come and do it for us; we do it with our own hands," said Pearson, who likened this community accomplishment to when the pioneers who settled Addison built their homes out of the woods.

"We still have the pioneer atmosphere in Addison Township," the supervisor said. "We're providing a better life for our kids and our grandkids."

"This is an American story. It's an Addison Township story. This is who we are. We are Americans and this is how we do things. We never ask for help; we do it ourselves."

Library Board President Evelyn Pickwick's comments mirrored Pearson's sentiments.

"The way this library came together . . . is a wonderful reflection of who we are as a township," she told the crowd. "This grand opening today is a testimonial to what we can accomplish as a community once we set our minds to it."

Library Director Jaema Berman believes the spacious facility with its new services, such free wireless internet and downloadable books, will be a huge boon to residents.

"I feel that the community will be pleased when they discover all of the wonderful changes in store for them," she said. "We have doubled our space. We have tripled our visibility. We have quadrupled our ability to serve the community."

Berman is grateful that she wakes up everyday "knowing that this community values reading and independent learning."

"Children do better in school when library visits are a regular part of their weekly routine," she told the audience. "Think of books as a supplemental B-vitamin for the brain. Daily use is highly recommended . . . We will be able to supply you with your daily dose."

Berman thanked strip mall owner Ammanuel Yasso for renting such an "enormous" space "at a price that even a library during hard economic times could afford."

The library is paying $1,000 per month in rent, plus utilities.

"Your generous gift to your community will affect future generations of readers," Berman told Yasso.

Pearson praised Yasso as a true American success story. He came to this country not knowing how to speak the language, built a successful business and is now giving back to his community.

"I came to this country when I was about 15 years old," Yasso told the crowd. "I didn't have even five dollars in my pocket."

But he got a good education, worked hard and now he's pleased to be able to help the township by offering its residents a new home for their library.

"I was very, very glad to do it for the good people of this town," Yasso said.

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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