Spinney Memorial Library Grand Opening celebrated in Onset
The money was raised. The building was renovated. And now, the Spinney Memorial Library is finally a part of the Town of Wareham.
Members of the Friends of the Wareham Free Library, town officials, residents of Onset, and Wareham Free Library staff and volunteers gathered for the official Grand Opening of the Spinney Memorial Library located at 259 Onset Avenue on Monday.
The ceremony celebrated the acceptance of the library as a branch of the Wareham Free Library. It also celebrated the hard work it took to fundraise and renovate the building.
"This has been a long, long time in coming," said Susan Williams Gifford, state representative for Wareham and surrounding areas. "And finally, the dreams of a lot of people have been realized."
The rebirth of the Spinney Memorial Library has been a project more than five years in the making.
The original library was built in the late 1800s. It was owned and operated by the Harvest Moon Society, a civic group which sold handmade goods to support the building and its collection.
The building functioned as a library until the 1940s, and was subsequently used as a meeting place for the Wareham Girl Scouts.
In the early 2000s, the group taking care of the building - Spinney Memorial Inc. - approached the Friends of the Wareham Free Library and asked them to take over the Spinney.
The proposal was accepted in 2005 in a contract between the Town of Wareham, Spinney Memorial Inc., and the Wareham Free Library, Inc. The contract also stipulated that the Town of Wareham would bring the idea of taking ownership of the library to Town Meeting in 2012.
In the meantime, the Friends began a tremendous fundraising effort to renovate and expand the building. Approximately $700,000 was raised over a couple of years, said Nora Bicki, president of the Friends of the Wareham Free Library.
The Friends opened Spinney to the public on a limited basis on July 4 of last year.
During Town Meeting In April of this year, the time came to decide whether the town should take ownership of the library.
Many voters argued that the town had enough financial difficulties and could not afford to maintain a new facility.
Others argued that the library would provide a valuable service to the residents of Onset that was worth the approximately $40,000 a year expense.
Town Meeting ultimately voted to accept the library as a branch of the Wareham Free Library.
"We were confident that the community would recognize the importance of our branch library in Onset," Bicki said during the grand opening ceremony on Monday. "We were thrilled. The Friends were elated," she added.
The town now owns the library. The Friends will maintain and operate the library for the next two years, and hopefully for a third year as well, said Bicki.
The Grand Opening ceremony also featured performer and Onset resident Jackson Gillman. Children crowded around the performer while Gillman told interactive stories and sang songs.
"This building has always been children friendly," said Sanford Fasth, treasurer of the Spinney Memorial Inc., noting its use for both Girl and Boy Scouts. "We're very pleased that it has turned into a library to help children and adults."
Fasth added that the facility could be used as more than just a library.
"It could even serve as a mini-Town Hall. People could pick up their dog licenses, and their fish licenses," he said.