SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. -- A reopening ceremony was held on a sunny Saturday morning for the Lewisboro Library's return to its building following an extensive renovation.
The ceremony began with a line of people and movement of books along Main Street, a ceremony that was called a "book brigade." It also included remarks from officials and a ribbon cutting at the front entrance.
Cindy Rubino, who is director of the Lewisboro Library, discussed the renovation, which included expansion wings, a gutting of the interior and new exterior siding.
In total, the library's size was enlarged from 5,700 square feet to 7,200, Rubino said. It now has a separate children's room - a "Curious George" theme was on display for Saturday - and a conference room.
The quest to improve the library was years in the making and came following setbacks, however. Rubino recalled that the library board of trustees first expressed interest in a renovation about 15 years ago. Several plans were proposed over time, including a two-story iteration on the current site and a new library at Town Park, but each fell through, Rubino recalled. Over that time, however, millions in private donations and state funding were garnered, according to the director.
The two-year renovation came in on time and under budget. During the project, the library was housed in the South Salem Presbyterian Church, which is located near by.
The interior is open and has natural light coming through thanks to numerous skylights on the roof.
“This project before you is a true labor of love," Mary Shah, vice president of the Library Board of Trustees, said at the ceremony.
Shah thanked the various people who were involved in making the renovation possible. She also described the library's modern role in helping the community.
For Lewisboro Supervisor Peter Parsons, the library's renovation has been years in the making. He was previously involved with the project before his time in town government, as he was president of the library board.
“We have now got a library which fits our current needs," he said.
Parsons thanked several involved, from those who came up with fundraisers such as a ho-down, to the architects who kept working on the project.
“Any sane people would have thrown this project in after design No. 8," Parsons said light-heartedly in praising the architects' work on revisions.
The public gathering had an easy-going atmosphere, with comments interspersed with laughter from the crowd.
The library's history goes back to 1799, Town Historian Maureen Koehl said at the ceremony. The library's book collection was once hosted in the librarian's home and was only open four times a year, the historian recalled.
It was noted at one point during the ceremony that the nearby Russell antiques shop once hosted the library.
The current library opened in 1962 and has since had multiple renovations, Koehl said. She said that there was a brigade moving books to the building for its original opening.
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