The money came in a brown paper bag as $1,000 in cash, accompanied by a note and stuffed inside the book return bin.

It came in $230,000 in federal and state grants.

It came in more than 85 individual donations that poured out from the New Vineyard community.

And three years and $310,000 later, the idea of building a new library for New Vineyard came to fruition.

About 50 residents, library trustees and elected officials gathered Saturday morning to dedicate the New Vineyard Public Library.

After years of planning, construction crews broke ground in November on the Lake Street building behind its former home in the Town Office, and library officials were able to move in by June.

The majority of the project was funded by a $180,000 Community Development Block Grant and a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, along with $20,000 each from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and the Davis Family Foundation.

Bruce Turcotte, a library trustee who helped spearhead the project, said the residents of the 750-person town repeatedly had said the library was a priority and its upkeep was something they valued.

“There were two or three surveys sent out that asked what you valued and what you don’t value, and the library was always the center of what people wanted,” Turcotte said.

At the dedication ceremony, president of the library board of trustees Barbara Toner held up a copy of children’s book “The Little Engine That Could” and said the New Vineyard Public Library’s journey to its new home was like the engine in the story, which determinedly reached its goal.

“It started and chugged along,” Toner said.

The library journeyed from its first home in the 1960s in a downtown church to the school, to upstairs at the Town Hall, to in the “dark and dismal” basement of the Town Hall; and in the 1980s, it ended up in part of a convenience store.

Then the town received a donation of land from a resident, Judith Johnson, and built on it the building that housed the Town Office, library and historical society up until the library’s current development, Toner said.

Toner said the library patrons now should celebrate the future they can have with the more accessible, modern library with new resources such as room for an extended collection and a community room for meetings and events.

“The new library is a place for people to go and discover so many resources,” she said.

Friends Lynne Ricardo and Tish Kilpatrick were among those visiting the library for the open house. They said they are impressed by the new space.

Ricardo said in the library’s old home, the staff managed to do a lot with a little; but it was good to have the larger, more modern setting.

“It’s beautiful. Considering the size of the town, it’s a great collection,” she said.

Kilpatrick said as a halftime resident of the area, she uses her summers away from Florida to relax and live away from the television.

The library, she said, is the perfect resource for enjoying her time here, and she is a member of the book club at the library.

“The staff here is so warm. You find in small communities like this that there is a sense of belonging,” she said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

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