Sisters breaks ground for its new public library


Last updated 3/8/2005 at Noon

Jim Cornelius

(From left): Michael Gaston, Beth Pearl-Gent, Peg Bermel, Eric Dolson, Judy Trego and Dwight Smith wielded golden shovels to break ground on the site of the new Sisters Library.

Nearly 150 people showed up to wield shovels as patrons broke ground for the new Sisters Library last Saturday in a festive on-site ceremony held under sunny skies.

Townspeople, Friends of the Library and local dignitaries and interested folks brought their shovels to symbolically launch their dreams for a new library.

From Ardie Winters’ vision of a larger fiction section in the new library to Evelyn Brush’s hopes for the new children’s section to Cal and Marsha Allen’s goal of sitting in the new fireplace reading area, everybody got to “see” the library layout. Surveyor Fred Ast laid out the site to actual scale with stakes holding signs indicating where each new section would be located on what is, for the moment, barren dirt.

The formal part of the groundbreaking ceremony started with posting of the colors by local Boy Scout Troop 188 and opening remarks by Scout Luke Glick.

Master of ceremonies Peg Bermel, library manager in Sisters, welcomed the crowd and introduced dignitaries who briefly spoke of their delight at obtaining a new library.

In his remarks, Michael Gaston, Director, Deschutes Public Library System (DPLS), laid out his threefold vision of the library’s purpose.

“To see a child getting their first library card and the joy on their face is an unforgettable moment,” he said. “A whole new world has opened.”

“Many people who come to the library seek help or need answers to a problem. We listen to you and try to help,” explained Gaston.

The $1.3 million library project was enhanced by an additional $54,000 added by The Friends of the Sisters Library and an anonymous donation of $100,000.

“We’ll be trying to add more,” said Friends President Dwight Smith.

The donation funds represent a major payoff from many past book sales conducted by the Friends of the Sisters Library.

In her remarks, Bermel noted that the library will triple in size, going from the present 2,600 square feet to more than 8,000 square feet when completed.

The library will be more comprehensive than the current facility.

“The new library will allow us to greatly expand the Sisters Library collection,” said Todd Dunkelberg, Assistant DPLS Director. “Shelving will double in some areas and will triple in the ‘Young Adult’ section. The children’s area will be greatly increased also. The computer area will see more computers plus there will be separate computer stations in the new children’s area.”

Other areas of expansion will be in audio books, visual materials, and the overall fiction and non-fiction holdings, according to Gaston.

“I’m just thrilled at a new library for Sisters,” said Ronni Duff, COCC coordinator in Sisters. “It’s another educational facility and much needed by our growingcommunity.”

New additions will include a multipurpose room for meetings and other events, an expanded work area for library personnel, office space, and a new fireplace setting in the periodicalssection.

“Close your eyes and imagine sitting by the fireplace reading your favorite magazine,” said Michael Gaston during his remarks.

“We would not be here today for this groundbreaking event if it were not for the leadership of Michael Gaston,” Bermel told the audience. “He came here as Director and led the successful efforts to form a separate library district. Today, his promise to Sisters to have a new library is completed.”

After walking through the new library site, the gathered community members sampled cake and cookies provided by Sisters Bakery and Friends of the Sisters Library.

As a remembrance of the event, the Sisters Ranger District provided seedling pine trees, grown by Sisters Middle School students, to those attending.

Girl Scout Junior Troop 711 passed out programs to the gathered audience.

Other dignitaries present included Mary Beth Pearl-Gent, DPLS Board President and Sisters representative; Judy Trego, Sisters City Council member; Eric Dolson, Sisters School Board member, and Paul Bennett, Chair, Sisters Library Advisory Council.

The new library is expected to be completed later this year.


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