CREMONA - After two decades of scrimping and saving by the library board, the Cremona Municipal Library is finally open following expansion. The expansion more than doubles the size of the library from 10 feet by 12 feet to 24 feet by 30 feet.
The library board celebrated the grand opening on Oct. 20 with a ribbon cutting event featuring current and former library staff members as well as local dignitaries.
Cremona library board chair Patti Kirkwood said it's very exciting finally having the expanded library open.
"It looks amazing," said Kirkwood. "We're so very happy. It is bright, warm, inviting. It's a place you want to be now. We've got a children's centre that seems to be really popular. We have moms coming in and reading to their kids. We have new programming. We bought a conference-sized table and chairs in order to host different programming and meetings. Bringing more community to the library."
Kirkwood said they already have a number of new and exciting programs going including seniors' book club, evening book club, after-school lego club, preschool (newborn to five,) Monday morning reading and several others.
"Before the expansion we had, I think, two chairs and that's all that would fit in the space," she said. "It's unbelievable how small it was. With the addition, we now have a children's space, a coffee centre, and chairs and end tables for people to have their coffee and read their book. It's so incredible. The children's centre has a rug on the floor and a little kids' table and chairs and a comfy chair for moms to sit in with their little ones."
Kirkwood said that the estimated cost of the expansion is expected to be around $150,000, which was all paid for by the library board.
"We did it without money from anywhere, which is also incredible," she said. "For 20 years this library board has been scrimping and saving, setting aside money each year. It's pretty impressive."
Kirkwood said the grand opening went very well and was very well attended.
"We looked back into the history of the library for the grand opening because we honoured all the people that have been on the board or employees," she said. "The two people that started the library in Cremona cut the ribbon, which was so incredible. "
Also at the grand opening, the board honoured longtime librarian Sandra Herbert.
"What we did in her honour was put together a scholarship for $350 every year for a Cremona High School student in her name," she said. "We have a plaque that will sit on the wall and we'll put the names of the students each year who win it."
Kirkwood said work on the expansion began in May and was wrapped up in early October in time for the grand opening.
Kirkwood added that several members of the community stepped in and helped out with various needs.
"We needed a new drop box, and we needed it weatherproof," she said. "The old one was 25 years old and made of wood and it leaked. A local welder said he would do it for basically nothing. A friend of his who powder-coats said he would powder-coat it for $20."
Kirkwood said buying the drop box new would have cost around $10,000.
"Because of the efforts of two people in our community we got it for less than $600," she said. "It was so wonderful. We had people from one of the churches help us with dusting and bringing in books and putting them on the shelves. We're so grateful for people like that in our community."