Library's Expansion  | Newspaper Articles

A fine alternative - Customers applaud temporary library quarters
Mike Elfland, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, May 17, 2005

LEOMINSTER - The Ortega kids were glad to be back at the library yesterday morning, even if the library was no longer at the library.

Jacob 5, made himself comfortable at a computer in the children's section, while his sisters, Emma, 3, and Sophia, 17 months, played with puzzles and flipped through books.The city's library opened for the first time yesterday morning in an office building off Mechanic Street. The library will remain at the temporary location for about 18 months, while the existing library, in downtown Leominster, is renovated and expanded.

Beth Ortega, the children's mother, was among the many residents who eagerly visited the interim library early yesterday. Mrs. Ortega said she and her children enjoy regular trips to the library, something they missed during the city's two-week move to the temporary location.

Before arriving at Crossroads Office Park yesterday, she gave her children a heads up that the look of the library had changed since they last took out books.

But, like others at the library that morning, Mrs. Ortega said she was impressed with the look and feel of the temporary home.

She said she had an image of a makeshift library in a big room with boxes of books.

Instead, she found stacks of neatly arranged books, banks of Internet-ready computers and, much to her liking, a separate children's section.

"I didn't realize how much the library is part of our social life," Mrs. Ortega said of the two weeks the city was without a library.

Library staff, with help from an army of volunteers, transferred hundreds of books, videos and other materials from the West Street library to the Crossroads site. Hundreds of other materials were put in storage, to be brought out when the library project is completed.

Key parts of the library, such as a staffed information desk and its microfiche system, are part of the temporary quarters. Stuffed chairs in the young adults' section add to the lived-in feel sought by library officials.

"We wanted to make it a space where people felt comfortable," said library Director Susan T. Shelton.

The Montachusett Regional Transit Authority has added a stop at Crossroads for the next 18 months. Buses running between downtown Leominster and The Mall at Whitney Field will stop at the office park, Mrs. Shelton said.

"We had people getting off the bus at 9 o'clock this morning," she noted.

By noon, the library was a busy place. A young man typed at a computer. A woman with an infant at her feet scanned old newspapers on the microfiche machine, searching for family history.

Nearby, Margaret Paquette studied the binders of large-print books. It's a ritual she repeats every other week or so, and she's glad the large-print books made the move from downtown to Crossroads.

"It looks like they've been here awhile," she said approvingly of the temporary library.



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Temporary Library

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