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Long tale of renovated library nearing satisfactory conclusion.

Byline: Bradford L. Miner

NORTH BROOKFIELD - Completion of the renovated and expanded Haston Free Public Library is in sight.

The landmark building's transformation has taken an eight-year journey that began with a feasibility study grant in 1999, moved forward with the award of a state library grant in 2004 and the start of construction last fall.

The library at 161 North Main St. will open its doors at 2 p.m. Saturday, which will be a relief to Library Director Ann L. Kidd, the library trustees, building committee members and Friends of the Haston Free Public Library.

Mrs. Kidd said the seemingly simple task of re-shelving the library's collection, much of which has been in storage for more than a year, has been a far more daunting task than she had imagined. She said without the help of the library's many friends and volunteers, getting the building ready for patrons by Saturday would have been impossible.

The $4.1 million project was entrusted to Aquardo & Cerruti, the general contractor.

"I think the community will be very pleased with the result of the expansion and renovation," Mrs. Kidd said. She said she was particularly pleased with the new children's room and its natural light.

Among those attending Saturday's ribbon-cutting will be state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre; state Rep. Anne M. Gobi, D-Spencer; and members of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

"North Main Street will be closed to traffic in front of the library for the duration of the ceremony and then the trustees, staff, members of the Friends of the Library will be on hand throughout the building to welcome patrons, residents and others, and show them the new features of the building," Mrs. Kidd said.

There will also be dessert across the street at the Congregational Church, in place of the traditional Friends of the Library harvest supper.

"Instead, starting at 3 p.m. we'll be serving apple crisp across the street at the church, a harvest dessert this year instead of a full meal," Mrs. Kidd said.

Throughout the afternoon, the Bliss Pond Players will perform acoustic music on the main floor of the library, and guitarist Geoff Brown will be performing on the upper level.

Mrs. Kidd said the library, fully integrated into the Central Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing system, has 5,000 cardholders. About half are North Brookfield residents.

Asked what she liked most upon seeing the finished work, Mrs. Kidd replied the blending of the old and the new, with the old oak millwork seamlessly tied into the new building.

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Library volunteers, from left, Pat Wetherell, Ruth Fogarty and Florine Martelli prepare materials in the renovated children's section of the Haston Free Public Library in anticipation of Saturday's opening.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/DAN GOULD
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 10, 2007
Words:465
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