Children’s Room is Open, Many Thanks To:

Below is the text of a speech given by Bernadette Rivard, Library Director at the Grand Opening of the newly renovated Children’s Room at the Ceremony on May 6th.

“Good morning and welcome to the Grand Opening of the newly carpeted and furnished children’s room at the Bellingham Library.  Before we open the gate and cut the ribbon there are many people we must thank for making this day possible.  First, we’d like to thank you, the town meeting voters of Bellingham who last October voted to approve the funds for the beautiful new carpeting that was installed by Capital Carpet and Flooring Specialists, Inc. out of Wilmington, MA.  The timing of that vote coincided with our successful Library Services & Technology Act Grant application called “Mind in the Making”.   Thanks to our Reference Librarian Cecily Christensen for her assistance in writing the grant application.  That grant, for $10,000 has funded new furnishings and new educational toys for the room that we hope will greatly enhance your child’s experience when at the library.

In addition the Clara Macy PTO donated their funds to the library to spend on technology for the children’s room.  With their funds we were able to acquire an iPad Krayon Kiosk that has 4 ipads loaded with apps appropriate for children.

One day out of the blue in December, we received a $1000 donation from Cummings Properties, LLC out of Woburn on behalf of their employee Bellingham resident Marinho Pereira.  Marinho selected the library for his company charitable match.  We thank him.  Those funds were used to purchase new shelving needed to complete the room.

In preparation for the renovation we were a bit overwhelmed with the thought of moving every book and every shelf that was in the children’s room for the carpeting of the whole room.  With the assistance of Jeff Trelagan, General Manager at Victory Packaging, we were able to work out a system of putting the books on carts and in boxes that worked perfectly.

The new tables you see in the room were built by carpentry students at Blackstone Valley Tech just for the cost of the materials.  They are beautiful and custom built to the size we needed.

Last, but not least, the BNI Go Getters, a business group that meets at the library on Friday mornings continued to support library projects with a $250 donation that was used to purchase some of the smaller furniture.

There is one more very special project that will be going into the new room once it is completed.  This project is to honor Indy, our Tail Waggin’ Tutors library reading dog, who gained his angel wings in late December.  We have commissioned Lena Toritch of the Young Fine Art Studio, Salt Lake City, UT to create a life sized bronze statue of Indy, the reading dog.  Each week for more than 5 years, Leah Caracino, a Blackstone resident, brought Indy, a beautiful Sheltie, to the library to be read to by children of all ages.  One small bark on Monday night and we all knew Indy was here! We’d like Indy’s legacy to live on in the children’s room of the Bellingham Library for years to come.    We are accepting donations for the statue, instructions of how to donate online are on your program, or you can pick up a brochure near the entrance to the children’s room, or just drop a few coins (or dollars, or more) into the fundraising dinosaur as all funds donated in the Dino bank are being dedicated to this project.

The Friends of the Library will be holding a children’s’ book sale in this room throughout this mornings celebration. Books are 50 cents each, 3 for $1 or $5 for a brown bag.  The Friends are the fundraising arm of the library and if you aren’t a member of the Friends, we invite you to join.  Membership is just $10 per year and forms will be available at the pay table for the book sale.

I’d personally like to thank the library trustees for their support on this project.  Specifically, I’d like to thank our most recent former trustee Sue Garten who has been by my side as a library trustee throughout the 8 years I have been here.  Your enthusiasm and support for the library has been crucial to our successes over the past couple of years.  Our other trustees are Laura Howard, Amy Bartelloni, Nicole Buckley and our most recent elected member Rebekah Tracy.

Last, and certainly not least, there are a whole lot of people who worked very, very hard to make this happen.  First and most crucial to making sure this all happened on time is our custodian-extraordinaire, Jim Maher.  For the past 8 weeks, Jim has pretty much operated a moving and furniture set up service.  With the assistance of town carpenter Ron Paulhaus, and his senior volunteers, they constructed shelving, mounted things to walls, and simply made things work.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks to Mr. Steve, our amazing children’s librarian (I like embarrassing him by calling him the best children’s librarian in the state) for his dedication to the children of Bellingham and to this project.  His ideas, expertise and quirky sense of humor make him a pleasure to work with.  We had a great time on our road trip to Lakeshore Learning, the Cranston, RI store we purchased many of the toys from.  Made me wish I was a kid again, and I’m still disappointed that kids don’t play with abacuses anymore!

Thank you to our grant advisory board members, who reviewed the toys that Steve and I thought were cool to help us select the best toys for the room, Sarah Hummiston of the Milford Family & Community Network and Jess Hostnick of the Moms Club of Medway Bellingham.  Their expertise helped tremendously.

To the library staff that moved all the books what seemed like 10,000 times from location to location, especially Barbara, Anne, Pauline and Renee, offered expert input on layout and more, we couldn’t have done this, or pretty much anything else on a day to day basis without you.

To Jack DeDominici, our senior volunteer who works with Steve in the children’s room thanks for gluing down that train table, and so much more.  Reshelving books with you was fun.

And last but not least I personally have to say thank you to all of you.  It is an honor to be your Library Director and we hope you love the room as much as we do.”


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