Springfield Magazine, November - December 1997
Opening of

Carlinville Library

Fulfills Dream
by Cindy Ladage

After years of fund-raising, planning and community efforts, the Carlinville Library opened its doors to the public Saturday, Sept. 20. The theme was: "Build It and They Will Come - Library of Dreams '97."

The opening was a community celebration with music provided by the Carlinville High School band, followed by the national anthem, the invocation, the welcome, the announcement of art contest winners and the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Colorful copies of the winning bookmarks were presented as commemorative pieces, and the winning pieces of the art show "From All Walks of Life" were displayed for the public to enjoy.

Dick Woods, nephew of the original library's benefactor Susan Dick, was on hand for the unveiling of the Susan Dick Memorial. Senator Vince Demuzio joined Carlinville residents who contributed to the program.

Chicago artist Nancy Steinmeyer introduced her interactive children's mural and provided entertainment for the children. Music from the Prairie Sound Barbershop Quartet completed the day.

The grand opening was the result of years of effort. The library board was and
still is striving to make the library more than just a place to read. Sherry Brianza, board member and chairperson for the grand opening explains, "We want it to be known as a library and a cultural center."

With its newly-expanded space of 7,500 square feet that includes a computer center, genealogy room, study area, meeting room and youth section, the library serves as a community center. The new library is also completely handicap-accessible.

Although changes in the new library are many, the character and continuity of the previous library have been preserved. By combining the new furniture and shelves with the recently refinished hard oak tables and rejuvenated book drop and bike rack, the Carlinville community has blended the new with the old. Moreover, it has created a state-of-the-art library that still
feels like home.

When entering the library, the patron is greeted with the 1916 cornerstone of the old library to the left, and the 19 9 7 cornerstone of the new library to the right. Outside the front door is the memorial to Susan Dick.

A preview party was held the night before the grand opening to honor volunteers, and contents of the capsule from the 1916 cornerstone were unveiled in a pictorial format. Photographs showed news articles a program for the 1916 opening of the library and a biography of Susan Dick. Contents for the new capsule (including the architectural drawings) were sealed and placed in the new cornerstone. Photos of these items are exhibited for the public to view.

The library has been a community effort, even down to the new location. The new library shares the same building as City Hall. Architects Gatewood Hance and Associates from Mattoon specialize in building and renovating libraries. Work-
ing along with the general contractor V.H. Builders from Carlinville, they helped create the design of the library from the already-existing building. Volunteers worked along with the contractors to "gut" the building before the remodeling took place.


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