BELGRADE — Dozens of people turned out Sunday to celebrate the official opening of the town’s new library on Depot Street.

The ribbon cutting ceremony and open house were held more than six months after the library opened to accommodate the schedules of numerous summer residents who donated to the project.

“We’re really proud of this building,” said Judy Johnson, president of the Friends of Belgrade Public Library. “We hope you are, too.”

The move to 124 Depot Road took the library from its cramped quarters at the Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons on Route 27. Nearly a third of the libraries’ 7,000 books were stored out of view, in a shack, due to space constraints.

Sunday’s ceremony was open to the public, but Johnson said there was an individual invitation extended to each of the 456 people who donated $440,000 over the five-year fundraising campaign.

Friends of the Library bought the house in 2009 for $140,000. Renovation included an extension on the back with an electric fireplace. The library now has significantly more seating and more shelving, providing enough room to display the library’s entire collection.

The new building also has a new circulation desk, a large, wooden piece that was originally built for a library in New York. Johnson said Hammond Lumber Company donated the desk, which was in a woodworking building the company bought.

Guests fanned out across the bright, open space following Sunday’s ribbon cutting. Loyce Hayslett, who serves on the friends’ board and helped design the library’s interior, said the group spent a year looking for the right spot. When the Cape Cod style home directly across from the athletic fields of Belgrade Central School came up for sale, the group seized the opportunity.

“It was a perfect location,” Hayslett said. “We’ll have a library for future generations, which is so important.”

The town will continue to fund the library’s operating costs, but Johnson said the Friends are responsible for maintaining the building and grounds.

“We still have a lot of fundraising we have to do,” she said prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Toward that end the Friends have scheduled a number of events for later this year, including the Ed Salmon Memorial Golf Tournament on July 11 and a 5k road race for July 27. A complete list of events and additional information are available on the Friends’ website:

State Representative Dennis Keschl, R-Belgrade, praised the Friends’ fundraising effort and their ability to build a library without public funds.

Town Manager Gregory Gill agreed.

“This is a great achievement.” he said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642
[email protected]

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