BERLIN – Local officials celebrated Berlin’s new library with a ribbon cutting ceremony this week.
On Tuesday the Worcester County Commissioners joined municipal officials, area politicians and library leadership for a ribbon cutting at the new 12,000-square-foot Berlin branch of the Worcester County Library.
“I think we all are awestruck by this wonderful facility,” Mayor Gee Williams said.
The new library, which opened in July, is more than three times the size of the library’s previous location on Main Street. The two-story structure, which complements the town’s historic architecture, features an open-space design and was designed with a focus on energy efficiency. The library includes reading areas for children and teenagers, public computers, community meeting space and a local history room. The facility was designed by Jeff Schoellkopf and built by Whiting Turner.
“I tell you you’re in a gorgeous facility,” Worcester County Commissioner Diana Purnell said. “I welcome you here and I thank you for coming but most of all I thank you for being a participant in the building of this facility. This is a great investment in our county and in our town of Berlin.”
Ron Cascio, president of the Worcester County Library’s board of trustees, said the library wouldn’t have been built without the partnership and dedication of many entities. He said he hoped the library would be a source of pride for years to come.
“It was our intention from the start to provide this wonderful community with not just a library building but a learning center,” he said. “We also wanted to attempt to influence the decision makers that there can be a better way to acquire buildings and to deliver to the people of Worcester County, Berlin, and visitors the finest, most efficient, affordable, long lasting building we could. Only time will tell. It would be nice to hear from those using it centuries from now just how well we did.”
“We certainly look forward to generations of experiencing something that I think has set a new standard for informational technology in our county and in our region,” he said.
Williams said that from the start the new library had created excitement among even the community’s youngest residents. He said kids at Buckingham Elementary School had orchestrated a book drive for the new facility.
“The students had high ambitions and set a goal of creating enough donated books, stacked one on top of another, to reach the ceiling of their classroom,” he said. “Their campaign was embraced with enthusiasm by the entire student body. It wasn’t just a handful of kids. In just a few weeks the books they collected would not only have broke through the classroom ceiling but through the school’s roof.”
Williams said the students collected 1,000 children’s books for the new library.
“Imagine what they’ll be doing when they’re a little older…,” he said. “I trust this new facility is not only a reflection of the support and appreciation of the citizens of Berlin but the hope and aspirations of our young people to build a better future, not only for our community but our county, state and nation.”
Sen. Jim Mathias also praised the new facility. He thanked taxpayers for making the project happen.
“We did this in some really challenging economic times,” he said. “I think we, with your support, made some good decisions.”