Opening Of Renovated Library Makes History
Saturday marked the official grand opening of the newly renovated Fulton County Library, an event that is undoubtedly the most prestigious moment in the history for the organization that has been providing services to Fulton County and beyond for 50 plus years.
Looking ahead to the future, emcee and library board of trustees Vice President Loy Garber announced the expanded space now found at the three-story facility will help achieve their mission of enriching the lives of county families through access to materials, information and services.
“This is definitely a dream come true,” said Garber, who proudly announced active library card members currently total 8,085.
Following up on Garber’s brief statement to the crowd gathered at the entry way to the library located on North First Street, the Fulton Honor Guard presented and raised the nation’s flag. Both the flag and flagpole were donated by Fulton Overseas Veterans Association, VFW Post 655. Singing of the national anthem was provided by McConnellsburg resident Deb Welsh.
Meanwhile, Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism President Mark Washabaugh led the ribboncutting ceremony with aid from fellow chamber members, members of the board of trustees and Friends of the Library and library Director Jamie Brambley.
“On behalf of the chamber, I’m so glad to see this new facility that has been put up. What a wonderful job! Thank you to everyone who was involved, including the board of directors, the architects and designers. We just have to give you a hand for such a beautiful building,” noted Washabaugh.
Paul and Anna Shockey, ongoing financial contributors or donors to the library, were unable to attend the September 26 ceremony and are scheduled to take a private tour of the new facility at a later date. The Shockey family was touted by Garber as being dedicated, supportive members to the library board of directors.
Ken Shockey spoke for his parents, recalling not only a time when “McConnellsburg didn’t really want a library” but when his father spent countless hours constructing bookshelves for the former building. “My parents really thought a lot of this community and supported this library very well,” he said.
Also unable to attend due to a family obligation, former state senator Robert Jubelirer, who served as a representative on the state’s General Assembly for Fulton County as well as neighboring Bedford, Huntingdon and Blair counties and a portion of Mifflin County, sent his “hearty and heartfelt congratulations on the completion of a terrific project.”
“Residents and leaders in Fulton constantly demonstrate that small communities in a small county are not forced to think small or do things only on a small scale. The inspirational local lesson repeats – people care about quality services and are willing to generously contribute to realize them,” the former senator said in a prepared announcement that further added the library was always on his “shopping list” for state funding.
Fulton County Commissioner David Hoover II followed up on Jubelirer’s words, commending the boards and volunteers on an “outstanding job” that will take the library well into the 21st century.
“It is the commissioners’ pledge that we support this as much as we can,” said Hoover. “In the future we will be looking at the library and giving all that we can for the patrons here to enjoy.”
Referred to as the “right person to guide the library into the future,” Brambley shared an emotionally charged speech on how the books and ideas found inside the library doors can be life changing. Those specifically thanked by Brambley in her grand-opening speech were volunteers who helped move more than 40,000 volumes twice; Eagle Construction Co., and fellow contractors who helped turn an old barn into a beautiful new library; Lee Zeger and Jerry Parsons of Dennis E. Black Engineering; library patrons; and library board members and Friends of the Library members for their support and dedication.
Bernice Crouse, former Fulton County Library director and current executive director of the Franklin County Library System, wrapped up the ceremony stating, “Wow. It’s awesome where this library has come. A lot of the credit goes to Jamie ... I thank you for being so supportive of libraries in this area. It is truly the public library that opens the door to all of these areas of learning for everyone universally without individual cause or what their economic or education situation is.”
Immediately following the ribbon-cutting and comments from local dignitaries, the general public was invited to tour the $1.3 million project that was funded in part by a Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Grant.
Several new or improved areas that continue to draw attention at the library are the public coffee machine, quiet reading and study areas, special teen area, a larger Historical Society room and a small meeting room. As the downstairs community room was also slated to receive a small face-lift, it too will be back in operation in the near future for various events.