Ground broken for Besore Library project

Participating in the ground breaking were, from left, Frank Traver of Eagle Construction; Clair Paci; Isaac Helfrick; Louise Mowen and Donna Thomas, former library employees; Laura Bailie, library director; Sharon Baumbaugh, Friends of the Library president; Patti Divelbiss, Capital Campaign chairman; Ed Wine, library board vice president; Greencaslte Mayor Robert Eberly; Charles Eckstine, Greencastle Borough Council president; and Fred Young, Antrim Township supervisor. The library board and capital campaign committee is standing behind.

A cool fall breeze did not cause the tear welling up in Laura Bailie’s eye Friday afternoon outside the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library. Instead it was the realization that the Greencastle-Antrim community was beginning to live its dream.

Halfway to its fundraising goal of $1.2 million to renovate and expand the half century old library, officials moved forward Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony to begin Phase 1 of the project at the 305 E. Baltimore St. facility.

“This is just the start of our dream coming true,” said Bailie. “We’ve had such great support from the community that it touched our hearts.

“Now we’re excited that this is going forward and all the new things we can offer the community once the project is done. It’s a wonderful day.”

Library board president Kay Witmer echoed those sentiments, “I do feel good. It’s such a team effort, a community effort. Every bit of everything that each person did contributed to this.”

Bricks and mortar

Library representatives, governmental officials and community leaders, along with members of the public joined to mark the groundbreaking for the first phase of the project that will include an addition, new heating and air conditioning, roof repair, handicap lift and entrance, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant bathrooms, adult reading room, upgrade front entrance, new program and children area.

The fundraising effort will continue to support Phase 2 that makes improvements to the existing building and Phase 3 that includes purchasing land for expansion of parking.

An anonymous donor is supporting an outside plaza at Ridge and Baltimore streets that will offer wifi. It will include open shaded space, landscaping and permanent tables and chairs.

Greencastle-Antrim High School freshman Isaac Helfrick, 14, uses the library for research and for general reading and participated in the groundbreaking.

“It’s good. When the young people see that there’s going to be an outside area and new teen area they will be more interested in coming here.”

Generosity of the community

“How fortunate we are to live in a community that values education and children, that has vision to build for the future and that demonstrates caring and concern for others by providing opportunities for all,” Witmer told those assembled.

“That is what this library addition represents. We are truly in the presence of some of the greatest people. This day is a celebration of you and all that has been accomplished to this point.”

Construction of Phase 1 will cost just over $700,000. Cash and pledges for that amount are available. Another half million dollars is needed to complete the project.

“We have a really unique town,” said Frank Traver of Eagle Construction which will be doing the project. “I think people understand how important the library is. The usage is way up. It’s important to all ages.

“It’s great to finally get the ground broken. It’s exciting. It’s wonderful for the entire community.”

Patti Divelbiss, chair of the fundraising committee is hopeful that the start of work will spur further giving, “Our hope is when they see the addition happen, when they see the bricks and mortar, they will send us a contribution to help get done.”

In a name

Naming opportunities are available for various donations, including, as follows: program room, $190,000; kitchen and snack area, $25,000; adult reading room, $25,000; automatic doors, $8,000; lift, $25,000; window-energy efficiency, $30,352; and children’s room furniture, $15,000.

Rights have already been purchased for the lobby at $50,000 and the pre-school area rest room at $12,559.

In a time when information is thought of as more digital than bricks and mortar, the local library has seen its use increasing. The number of cardholders has risen from 8,201 in 2009, to 8.899 in 2010 and to 9.605 in 2011. The total individual visits has gone from 66,307 in 2009 to 70,929 in 2010 and to 79,189 in 2011.

For Bailie the support for the project and those willing to work for it are motivating.

“This has made me fall in love with Greencastle all over again. It’s just another sign of what a great community Greencastle is and how much it steps forward and helps its own and wants to be a strong community for everyone,” Bailie said.

“It shows a great commitment on behalf of the people of Greencastle, for the people who were willing to knock on doors and ask for contributions, for the children who put a dollar in the box. It ads up more than in money, but in spirit and in heart and in hope. And that’s how we got there. It was a vote of confidence that we have something to share with the community that they felt it was important enough to give in these economic times.”