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Community invited to reopening of Library

Art by local artists is currently on display at the Hampden Free Public Library's new Library Art Gallery. Exactly one year after closing its doors due to lack of funding, the library will open with a rededication ceremony on July 1. Reminder submitted photo
By Debbie Gardner

PRIME Editor

HAMPDEN It's been a long time coming, but readers in Hampden once again have a place to get their book fix.

On July 1 exactly one year from the day the Hampden Free Public Library closed its doors due to lack of funding, Trustees and the Friends of the Library invite everyone to a rededication and grand re-opening.

The official ribbon-cutting will take place at 9 a.m., followed by an opportunity to meet the new library staff, apply for a new C/W MARS library card, tour the library and take a peek at the new Library Art Gallery featuring works by Scantic Valley Art Association members, and other local artists .

"I can hardly wait for everyone to see it," Patty Ehlers, president of the Friends of the Hampden Free Public Library, Inc., was quoted as saying in a recent press release about the new art gallery.

Visitors are also invited to join in the fun at an old-fashioned five-and-10ยข carnival featuring entertainment by the Shriners Clowns, food vendors, music, raffles and more. From 9:30 - 1 p.m. Peter Pan's Double Decker Bus will provide historic tours of town. Tickets are $5 per person, and free for children under 12 and Friends members.

New staff, new hours

June 13, the Trustees of the Hampden Free Public Library announced the new library hours, and staff appointments.

Carol Scheier, formerly the East Springfield branch manager for the Springfield Library System, will assume the position of Library Director.

"[Carol] brings a lot of skills and experience to our library. We were lucky our needs and her needs fit," said Cynthia Bailey, trustee for the Hampden Free Public Library.

In addition, Christina A. Fairman, former Homework Center librarian, will move up to the position of Youth Services librarian, and Cynthia Rowley will return as manager of technical services.

Beginning July 1, library hours will be as follows:

Tues. and Thurs. 1-8 p.m.

Wed. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

New art gallery

Through a collaboration with the Scantic Valley Artists, the Friends of the Hampden Free Public Library announce the creation of the Library Art Gallery.

"We have sculptures and paintings," Bailey said. "This [gallery] is made of works that the library already owned and new pieces that will be for sale. It will be a revolving exhibit as pieces go, more pieces will come in."

According to Ehlers, the gallery expects to initially display a total of 28 works.

"I know some might wonder where the magazines will go, except there won't be any magazines for a while," Ehlers was quoted as saying in a recent press release about the gallery.

Initially, the following artists are offing their pieces for sale: Nancy Constanzo, Bob Green, Bob O'Brien, Wolf Long, Steve Anwood, Dorothy Fritz, Demi, Terry Bailey, Janet Brehault, Patricia Pomeroy, and Mark Gagnon. Bailey said that a catalog of the pieces for sale is "in the works."

The Hampden Free Public Library made dubious history in 2005 by being the only public library in the country to be closed for more than six months.

Townspeople voted to restore $70,000 in funding to reopen the library on a limited basis at the Annual Town Meeting in April.