CASSADAGA - For three years, residents in Cassadaga had to travel to the town of Stockton or elsewhere to visit a library. Starting this week, the Cassadaga Branch Library will be fully functional at 18 Maple Ave.
The library held an open house last week to formally re-open the library. While residents could come in and check out the newly remodeled building, the library will start normal operating hours Wednesday. According to Cassadaga Library Association Trustee Kathy George, a new heating and air conditioning system was put in, carpet was ripped out with new tile floors installed, more lighting was added and insulation work was completed.
The library was closed in summer 2010 for mold found throughout the building. The town of Stockton, who owns the property, passed a resolution last July to sell the building. The library association purchased the building and started remodeling. The association felt it was necessary to re-open to give the community a place to gather, especially children since the Cassadaga Elementary School has closed.
"We really felt the need to get this going. ... (There's) nowhere else for elementary kids and families to gather," George said.
Another new addition is an expanded children's room complete with murals painted by Cassadaga Village Clerk Roxanne Astry. Village resident Mary Slaven lives down the street from the library and brought her children to the open house. She complimented the library on having more lighting in the remodeled building.
"It's great. I live two houses down so it's practically in our backyard," she said.
Librarian Carolyn Wenger said she is excited for the library to be operational once again. She announced the library will start story hour starting Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. at the Cassadaga branch and in Stockton at 1:30 p.m. at the Mary E. Seymour Library for pre-school aged children.
"I'm very excited. I think it's a great place and hope people come visit," said Wenger. "We tried to balance comfy chairs, utility and making the space inviting."
To help with the repairs, the library association received donations and grants, including a grant from the state Department of Education, to do the remodeling. Library Association President Trudy Coulcher said many community volunteers made the remodeling possible.
"I'm thrilled with the turnout today. So many volunteers to get us to this point is really, really wonderful," said Coulcher. "The community was very involved."
Resident Andrew Hobbs said he has been coming to the library for over a decade. Hobbs admitted to wondering why Cassadaga had its own library when he first moved to the village years ago. He said renting library books is cheaper then going to a store.
"It's cheaper to rent books then buying. (The library) really did a good job," said Hobbs. "For a small town, it's a great library. I'm amazed at the people coming (to the open house)."
If anyone is interested in volunteering at the library, call 565-3822. While the library is a member of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System, a separate library card is required. There is no automated system. To hold a library card, one does not need to be a resident of the village of Cassadaga. The library will be open Monday and Wednesday from 1-7 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to noon and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.