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Library gets closer to full service status

Date: 11/15/2010

Nov. 15, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- The long-awaited return of a full-service library to the neighborhoods that border Mason Square should take a significant step forward the week of Nov. 15.

According to documents released by members of the Mason Square Library Advisory Committee, City Solicitor Edward Pikula has confirmed with Urban League President Henry Thomas that his agency is scheduled to move Nov. 15.

Kat Wright, a member of the library's Advisory Committee, told Reminder Publications, "I am thrilled to change my focus from getting the building back to where it should be, to helping the library department have a good full service library in Mason Square."

Pikula wrote in a report about the move, "I personally met with Henry Thomas on Tuesday, Nov. 2, and discussed the matter. He confirmed that their phones will be shut down and transferred to the Springfield Technical Community College location for next weekend. We are still negotiating over payments for use and occupancy and relocation in the normal course of the statutory requirements, and I do not expect that those financial issues will be resolved prior to the move, but, based on the communications with [relocation expert Steve] Mollica and Mr. Thomas, I do not expect the City Council to vote on an eviction order."

According to Molly Fogarty, the director of the Springfield Library, in a memo to the advisory committee, the tentative re-opening of the library will be Jan. 26, 2011, with the official grand opening scheduled for Feb. 24, 2011.

"Once we move the books from the current space to the new space, renovations will begin for the new community room. Since that involves new lighting, painting, carpeting, wiring and installation of equipment, we are projecting that will take about three weeks," Fogarty wrote.

According to Wright, the new library is planned to have a children's and teen's room and a career center, among other features.

Wright is the chair of the steering committee which is planning the re-opening celebration.

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