Library Week: An Evening of Firsts

A guardian of the library
A guardian of the library

Last night was an evening of firsts at the Charles M. Bailey Public Library. It was the first time the newly expanded library was open to the public. It was the first time the new events room was used, and it was the first time for the new blue folding chairs, quite an improvement over the old wooden ones. It was the first time our new town manager—Peter Nielsen—came to an event. (He’s promised to come to all of them.) Firsts, firsts, firsts.

What a wonderful feeling to walk through this library and admire the wood, the layout, even the light. One man said, “Bravo, bravo!” as he wandered through the stacks in the adult section. After all the hard work—and, yes, the setbacks and the criticisms—how good it was to hear this.

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Shane at the grand new circulation desk in the adult section

 

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The teen section

The children’s section, once housed in the basement, is now on the first floor, and simply put, it is a magical place. I know. Magical is a word that can be overused, but the children’s area is now so delightful that no other word will do. It has everything that children and the young at heart will love—large stuffed animals, giant planes, a play area, a reading nook, and lots and lots of books. Lucky Winthrop children!

A place to play
A place to play
A cozy nook
A cozy nook
A giant plane
A giant plane

The first event of last night was a concert by the Winthrop Handbell Ringers. The bells’ tinkling, ethereal notes seemed like a welcome and a benediction.

The Winthrop Handbell Ringers
The Winthrop Handbell Ringers

After the concert, Earle Shettleworth, the state historian, spoke about the history of the Blaine House, the governor’s mansion in Augusta. Shettleworth was articulate, informative, and funny. He spoke for an hour, but I could have listened to him for even longer.  Along with his talk, there was a media presentation—what would have once been called a slide show—of stills about the Blaine House and its occupants through the years. Best of all, Shettleworth was quick to name the various dogs in the photos, and he apologized when he didn’t know a dog’s name. He also praised the design of the new addition and noted how well it tied in with the original building. (Thank you, thank you, Phil Locashio, architect extraordinaire!)

Earle Shettleworth
Earle Shettleworth

What an auspicious way to begin the second hundred years in our newly expanded library.

Another guardian of the library
Another guardian of the library

 

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6 thoughts on “Library Week: An Evening of Firsts”

  1. Hated to have to miss last night but ABSOLUTELY THRILLED AT this posting, Laurie. Kudos to you, the Library Trustees, the citizens of Winthrop who have contributed time, effort, support and belief in the existence of such an esquisitely designed addition to artfully blend so well with the historical original building.In addition to the building, In an age where modern technology is the ‘rage’, it isso heartening to re-educate and energize all peoples in the region to the value that libraries bring to the town and to the entire region, for all ages to gether and share…..Great pictures you have posted with this blog. Kudos to you for such an interesting piece…..Congratulations to EVERYONE who has had a part in this project!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Judi! Your kind words mean a lot to me. As you well know, we’ve all worked so hard on raising money for the new addition and the refurbished library. As I’ve noted before, it is our gift to the town.

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