Library's Expansion | Newspaper Articles
A fine alternative - Customers applaud temporary library
Mike Elfland, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, May 17,
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
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
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
"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
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
"It looks like they've been here awhile," she said
approvingly of the temporary library.