As long-time readers of this blog know, for the past few years, I have been part of a campaign team that has been working oh so diligently to raise money for a new addition for the Charles M. Bailey Public Library, our town’s library. (Full disclosure: I am also a library trustee.) The budget is one million dollars, which sounds modest enough, but in fact it has been quite a challenge for a town with a population of 6,000.
Late last summer construction began, and all through the winter workers have been busy pounding, hammering, and sawing. (Or sawring, as we Mainers would say.) Now the workers are coming down the homestretch. The new addition is nearly complete, and good progress is being made getting the original library spiffed up so that it won’t be totally overshadowed by its new sibling.
Yesterday, after doing our civic duty and paying our property taxes, Clif and I went over to Bailey Library to check on the progress. Oh, how beautiful Bailey is, even partially finished, and how wonderful it will be for the town to have this expanded library. The original library, built when the town was half the size it is now, was bursting at the seams, and there was no room for new books, not enough space for events, and hardly any place for the staff to work.
Now, we have a spacious new events room that will hold 130 people, greatly expanded children and adult sections, a meeting room, and an honest-to-God little staff room. The expanded library, in the center of town, will truly become even more central than it is now.
I want readers to know that while Bailey Library hosts events, has computers, and offers a wide range of DVDs, real books, made of paper, are still the thing, with thousands being checked out each month. And I’m happy to report that this book trend doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
Right now, volunteers are busy shelving books that had to be stored during construction. (The library is in temporary quarters in the Commerce Building in town.) In late spring or early summer, Bailey Library will reopen, and there will be a grand celebration.
I’ve written this before, and I’ll write it again. It’s not every day that ordinary people get to work on a project that will be around long after they are gone. One hundred years from now, Bailey Library will be there for the people of Winthrop. It’s been a true pleasure to be a part of this project.