Spinney Memorial Library Grand Opening celebrated in Onset

By Rishi Sidhu | Jul 23, 2012
Photo by: Rishi Sidhu Priscilla Porter, member of the Friends of the Wareham Free Library, gets ready to hand over the ceremonial key at the official Grand Opening of the Spinney Memorial Library on Monday. From left to right, Porter, Selectman Alan Slavin, State Representative Susan Gifford, and Wareham Free Library Director Denise Medeiros.

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.

Comments (4)
Posted by: Cara A Winslow | Jul 23, 2012 20:01


Posted by: letsbehonest | Jul 24, 2012 06:40

I am still convinced this is a waste of money!  $40k+ expense is something we do not need annually.  They made a point and now want to get rid of it, so our townsfolk voted it in.  Why doesn't the expenses of this building come out of the library budget????  People you need to wake up and see what is happening in this town.  A small group of people are running us into the ground, causing more people to move out of town, and lose their homes due to taxes.

Posted by: bruce gannon | Jul 24, 2012 07:30

just who are those people of the small group? the ones that mobilized and went out and raised $700,000 to restore the building.. are those civic minded, enthusiastic, volunteers the dastardly villains trying to ruin your town? or perhaps it's those who gave, the small business owners, the people you see walking the streets, going to work, the bank , the store.. those people? what is it about some here in Wareham that you don't get that providing a means for your children to learn and enhance their ability to move ahead shouldn't be viewed as a financial burden that we can't afford... if you think education is expensive........ try ignorance

Posted by: Zephyr | Jul 24, 2012 13:47

Let's just hope this group, whomever they are, is still around in 2 years to keep raising money for something the town will not be able to afford. When the town takes over the responsibility of this library in 2 years Wareham will realize that it can not afford it.  For the sake of people like you, I hope it doesn't happen.  But you can see the writing on the wall with the financial state we are in right now.  As a person who tries to live within his means, I voted NO for the library as I am voting NO for the override.

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