The historic Bosler Memorial Library celebrated its grand reopening Sunday after a five-year project to add on to the library.
Patrons wandered throughout the library at 158 W. High St., Carlisle. It was the perfect opportunity to explore the 38,000-square-foot facility and the expansions and renovations it has received. Library staff escorted visitors on tours of the building, while others walked around at their own leisure. Others took advantage of the computers while some showed children to books in the youth services wing.
“We took a library that was already working well for over a hundred years,” said Jeffrey Wood, president of the library’s board of trustees. “We faced a rather desperate shortage of space and services and programs to provide in that library.”
The library’s community room was packed with those who came to see the library during the grand reopening. Abc27 News’ Valerie Pritchett served as the mistress of ceremonies, and speakers included Sen. Pat Vance, R-31, Library Director Linda Rice and Development Officer Molly Shane. Nancy George, campaign chair for the Building a Better Bosler campaign, saw the reopening as the “results” of generosity. Vance agreed.
“This is the culmination of so many years of hard, hard work, and good leadership, because none of this happens without people who are willing to step forward and lead,” she said.
The library’s improvements took a lot of time, planning and money. Wood said five to six years of planning led to a campaign to raise funds for those improvements. A total of $6.5 million was needed for the ambitious project. Wood said some declared that it could not be done, but $2.5 million alone was raised from the state. Another $4 million was raised in what Wood called an “ask process,” which involved asking individuals, institutions and corporations.
Along with raising the funds necessary to make the additions came a lot of planning. Wood is deeply interested in the history of Carlisle. He called the library an “architectural jewel” of downtown, and said the additions were built in a way that honored the library’s history. He also pointed out that the library’s stained glass window, dubbed Lila’s Window, in the eastern wing of the library remains and is complimented by the additions. Before the additions, the library was 17,000 square feet.
“We’re at 97 percent of that ($6.5 million), so the library is done,” he said, but said there were some finishing touches that needed done.
Some work still remains, as parking is an issue with the library. Wood said Grace United Methodist Church behind the library has provided additional parking, but that will end with the merging of Carlisle’s three Methodist churches. He said the Borough of Carlisle sent a letter before construction began to do all they could to provide 75 to 100 additional spaces within a block of the library.
“As you know, that hasn’t occurred yet,” he said.
Other options currently being weighed include using meters to increase the turnover time or utilizing the borough’s parking garage. He hopes that the issue will be solved sometime this year, but said the process so far has been progressing “frustratingly slowly.”
Despite some last-minute touches, those who saw the library said they liked what they saw.
Emma Mader, of Smethport, was at the ceremony with her grandparents. She visited the library when she was younger, and noted how different it looks now.
“It’s remarkable how much it’s changed since the last time I saw it,” she said.
She said the organization has also improved. She tried finding a book she liked when she was a child, and she said she found it in a matter of minutes.
Lydia Kazmaier, of Carlisle, was also impressed with the library. She just moved into town and has been utilizing the library’s services and said she would continue to do so. She commended the efforts of those that helped make the ambitious expansion become a reality.
“I think a lot of people put a lot of effort to try to fix up the library, and it looks really great,” she said.