CORNVILLE — With new computers and thousands of books on the shelves, the Cornville Community Library is ready for its grand opening Saturday in the town’s former elementary school.

All the library needs is visitors, said librarian Brenda Hogate.

“I finally have all the computers and the programs installed, but nobody’s coming,” Hogate said. “I’m open three times a month, but I’m not having anybody come, so I thought, doing a grand opening, that people might come.”

The open house with cake and refreshments is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in what was the library of the Cornville Elementary School.

Town residents agreed to establish a municipal library in the school on West Ridge Road at a special town meeting in September. Hogate said she used $18,000 in start-up money from the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation.

Hogate said the library purchased a desktop computer, a laptop and a combined fax machine, printer and scanner. The building also is equipped with wireless Internet service, so anyone can bring in a laptop and log on, she said.

She said she has 5,000 to 6,000 books available and “boxes and boxes” of more books that have been donated since the King Foundation grant was announced.

She said she plans to scan books, too, to put them online. Hogate also said she hopes the Cornville library will be linked soon via Internet to catalogs in school and public libraries in neighboring communities.

Skowhegan-based School Administrative District 54 closed the school in 2010 to save money. Cornville voters agreed to close the school but voted that year to take ownership of the building and land.

At the annual Town Meeting in March 2011, voters decided to keep the school heated and maintained for possible use as a charter school later and to raise money with public events to offset those costs. Residents agreed to appropriate $25,000 a year from surplus for two years to maintain the building.

One year remains on the agreement. The future of the proposed Cornville Regional Charter School, to be located in the building, also will affect a new agreement with the town, Hogate said.

The library is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. With increased interest, Hogate said, she could open more often.

“It’s here for two reasons,” she said. “If the charter school opens, hopefully they will want a library; and it could be a gathering place for people from other towns.”

During the grand opening Saturday, there also will be a book sale, the proceeds of which will be used to offset costs for office supplies and the purchase of current best-sellers.

Other fundraisers include continuing yoga and martial arts classes, function rooms for benefit suppers and exercise programs and professional Independent Wrestling Entertainment events, of which two already have taken place, Hogate said. Another wrestling match is scheduled for March.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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