It was an emotional morning at the Dorchester Library as more than two years of planning, building and anticipation came to fruition. The local branch has been upgraded to the comprehensive model following the addition of an expansion at a price of just over $1 million that almost doubled the size of the building. The goal is for the facility to serve not just as a library, but also a community hub to accommodate a variety of services.
“I thank everyone who had the courage to dream a bit about what libraries in Middlesex could be,” said Middlesex County chief administrative officer Bill Rayburn.
Dignitaries were piped in and the ceremony was held in the archway that connects the original section of the library to the new addition.
Director of community services and facilities Mike Henry said the Dorchester Library has changed a great deal for the better, judging from the smiles and comments already heard Saturday morning.
“It has been an exciting year in Thames Centre, and if I may be permitted to add a personal note, Thames Centre has given me the opportunity to reconnect to, and witness support, caring, passion and above all determination, not just in the annual community events that Thames Centre offers [and are so well attended], but also in the efforts that have come together and reflected in this building that we stand in today.”
Jim Maudsley, who is currently serving as Thames Centre mayor, the Middlesex County warden and the Middlesex County library board chair, recognized the hard work and dedication of the administration, volunteers, municipal and county staff members and councillors and KMA Contracting Inc. He thanked Thames Centre residents for their support. Maudsley said the new, larger branch would enhance the quality of life for those who live in community.
Former county librarian and CEO Marg Rule said she was a natural to take part in the process. “It’s been really a dream project.” She has worked with and will continue to volunteer with Friends of the Dorchester Library on a wish list of items to help make them “come to life” through contributions. Rule is also on the expansion ad hoc committee.
Branch supervisor, Kathryn Suffoletta, who also held that role when the original portion of the building was constructed in 2001, tearfully expressed her gratitude to the staff members and students who exhibited grace under pressure working in a construction zone. “We put our heart and soul in it.”
Generous donations from residents, the Optimist Club of North Dorchester and the Dorchester and District Lions Club were recognized, as was the Lions’ literacy program for youth from age three to 12.
Some of the features of the new, expanded library include: a programming/meeting room with a separate exterior entrance and access to washrooms that can be used outside of library hours, offices for itinerant services, laptop bar, staff office, additional supply storage, a local history area, teen area and the showpiece: an electric fireplace in the lounge area.