New library opens in Bridgeville

By Lynn R. Parks

When Kizer Parkhurst, 14 months, walked into the new Bridgeville Public Library, he didn't have to search for the children's section. He spotted it immediately, said his grandmother, Linda Parkhurst, Greenwood. "He went right to it," added Parkhurst. "He didn't have to guess where it was." That's because the library's children's section is very colorful, with yellow, red and blue beanbag chairs scattered on the floor, blue, red and green chairs and tables and two stacks of oversized alphabet blocks marking the entranceway to the section. On a wall that divides the section from the genealogy room hangs the equally colorful mural by area painter Jack Lewis that was originally in the old library on Market Street. The mural, painted in 1976 on wallboard, was moved to the new library in two pieces. "This children's section is really nice," said Parkhurst, while Kizer climbed on a small red chair, just his size. "And I'll come back when I don't have him with me, so that I can look around in my section." The library, on South Cannon Street, celebrated its grand opening Monday morning. Construction of the 13,500-square foot building, more than five times the size of the old library, started last August, just a little more than a year ago. The full cost of construction, about $3 million, has been paid through state and private grants and donations. "We are opening today debt-free," Tom Connar, president of the library's friends group, told the more than 200 people who attended the grand opening.

"We are writing a new chapter for library services in our town," said library director Karen Johnson. "Ninety years ago, [Bridgeville resident] Margaret Cannon helped to start our library. I hope that she is proud of our accomplishments today." Town commission president Bill Jefferson said that the new library is "a showcase that citizens can be proud of for years to come." Connar praised members of the community who donated money toward the construction and who volunteered to help move books and furniture about seven blocks from the old facility to the new. "We are so thankful to all of you who have participated in this journey to make this happen," he said. "You had vision, hope, determination and purpose, and see what happened?" He praised Johnson as the person "who made sure that everything stayed on track and moved smoothly." And in his prayer asking for blessings on the building, Connar, assistant minister at Union United Methodist Church in Bridgeville, asked that the new library and the information that it houses encourage people of the community to live in harmony and peace. "With this new building, may we grow in wisdom, understanding and cooperation and continue to work to benefit the community," he prayed.

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