The Dansville Online
  • VIPs tour Dansville library's new wing

  • Just a few days prior to the library’s public opening Monday, invited guests had the chance to preview the results of their $10,000-or-more contribution to the new Dansville Public Library addition.

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  • Just a few days prior to the library’s public opening Monday, invited guests had the chance to preview the results of their $10,000-or-more contribution to the new Dansville Public Library addition.
    Guests included both individual and organization donors, as well as those responsible for loans and grants, plus contractors who worked on the project, library trustees past and present, plus town, village, State Senator Catharine Young (R-57) and Dennis O’Brien from Congresswoman Katherine Hochul’s office (D-26).
    At the beginning of speeches, library director Terry Dearing thanked the construction team –which is comprised of “three Mikes” (Mike Lima, clerk of the works; Mike Latonne, general contractor; and Mike Kerr, master carpenter) – with the purchase of a recently released children’s picture book called, “Mighty Mike builds a library.”
    “The publishing of this book came at just the right time,”?Dearing said with a smile. After an applause, Dearing continued, “So you are now standing inside the vision of many, many dedicated people.”
    She thanked past and present staff members, past and present board of trustee members; and as a few tears began to well up, she said, “I especially want to thank you, the donors, those who have given financially and those who have given your countless time and hours. This is your meeting place, the library of the new millenium.”
    Mary Ann Holden, secretary of the board of trustees spoke next, stating, “despite the rumors around town that we’re double over budget, we’re still under budget.”
    She spoke about the history of the project, which began with a millenium committee in the year 2000. “It had become apparent that a building built to be a family home in 1823 was no longer adequate to be a 21st century library,” she said.
    “We needed to expand, to serve modern society, to fit our community needs. We needed to provide technological infrastructure, handicap accessibility...all the things that are no longer luxuries, but are expectations.”
    After looking at a number of possible locations for the expansion, Holden said the committee came back to its location on Main Street – where the community wanted the library to stay.
    Holden made the announcement that because of a very generous gift from Phil and Carol Saunders, through the Saunders Foundation, the new addition will bear the Saunders family name. A specific name has not yet been chosen.
    In addition to their generous contribution, Rosemary Shepard, who passed away last year and was no relation to the Shepard family that donated their home as the library, named the Dansville Public Library as her primary beneficiary. Her donation added about a quarter million dollars to the project, Holden announced.
    Page 2 of 2 - In addition, Holden announced funding from United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. She said the department “bent over backwards...to help make our loan and grant a reality. An added bonus in following the USDA?requirements, is that everything in this building was made in America.”
    Candice Celestin and Cynthia Newcomb?from USDA?was given a turn at the podium. USDA helped funnel $2.5 million to the library. Celestin thanked the community leaders as well as Senator Young and Congresswoman Hochul for their support.
    Sen. Young spoke, stating that this project has been a long-time coming, and has taken a lot of effort to see it realized. She also spoke about how the library reflects the Main Street revitalization and that “the library is an important anchor and show piece on Main Street.”
    She also thanked the many donors, and led a round of applause to the Saunders’ generous gift to the library and to the community at large throughout the years.
    Board president David Reinholtz was the last to speak, who reiterated what the previous speakers said, and thanked those who were in attendance that night for their generous gift and to the construction crew for their hard work.
    Adele Shepard travelled from Penfield to attend the opening. Her great uncle Charles, aunt Mary and grandfather Thomas Rochester Shepard donated the original family homestead to the library.
    She commented on the beautiful architecture of the library’s addition and the the wonderful things that happen when the people of the community come together.
    Her family has been long-time book lovers, she said, and recalled her grandfather quoting Shakespear. Her nephew, Todd Shepard, has written a book on the separation of Algeria from France called, “The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France,” which is available at the library.

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