Bumps on the Road to a Dream Library

Print More
Jackie Hemond

Jackie Hemond

The glittering library which resides at 50 North Main Street could easily have been written up in Alistair Black’s book, “Libraries of Light.” Like public libraries built in Great Britain during the 1960s, our library was built in a modern, uncluttered design featuring walls of glass. With natural light flooding into the rough concrete interior, its design was a move away from a traditional library and symbolized a new era of optimism, confidence and enlightenment.

Our library began its life as a dream library. Built in 1971, it could hold 51,000 books, which was enough space for 20 years. But as the decades went by, the dream library, although still perfect on the outside, became faded on the inside. The roof leaked, the heating system was in trouble, its inaccessibility was an embarrassment. By the 2000s, the library was too crowded with books, the clean lines were lost, and something needed to be done.

Most of you know the rest of the story. Plans to build another library evolved. But, in the end, the library survived the wrecking ball. And like a phoenix, the library began the process of rebirth. The roof was fixed, closing the library for months. It was closed again two years later for a new entrance and a renovation. Then came long years with lots of bumps. PCBs. HVAC problems. The discarding of many books. But the dream is back. This year, the library will open again. It will be leaner, less crowded with books, filled with light and opportunity and open to all. A new beginning.

The library’s space will be reimagined and more welcoming with new, comfortable and stylish furniture. The Historical Room will have a better storage system for documents unique to Suffield. Fiber optic cables were installed so that the library computers will be faster than before. The auditorium, gallery and downstairs bathrooms will be updated. I have been looking at portable study rooms and hope that we can install one or two of them in the library.

So, things are looking up for the library. With a promise of 50-degree weather tomorrow, I am looking forward to spring with hope and optimism.

Comments are closed.