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County library will celebrate expansion

County library will celebrate expansion

The Burlington County Library System will celebrate the expansion and renovation of library headquarters in Westampton with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sunday, April 28, followed by special grand opening programs and activities all week long.

Set for noon, the ribbon cutting is expected to draw various local and county officials. The public is invited to join in the celebration by touring the building that day and learning more about the wide array of library services and programs available to residents.

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“Anyone walking through the new entryway can’t help but be impressed by the bright additional space, the expanded cyber cafe, the unique teen area, the much more accommodating children’s room and of course, a gorgeous new theater that has already hosted packed audiences,” Freeholder Director Joe Donnelly said.

“Libraries across the country are changing, and this spacious and attractive addition to the main branch answers to that change,” Donnelly said. “The theater will become home to a wider array of programs for residents of all ages.”

Following the ribbon cutting, there will also be a special “Digital Library Open House” from 1 to 5 p.m. (when the library closes) for patrons who want to learn how to use their own ereader devices to download library resources.

In addition, the whole family will enjoy Eric Dasher’s “Brain Wash Game Show” featuring interactive trivia fun in the library’s new auditorium beginning at 2 p.m. There will be a Drop-in Storytime at 2:30 p.m., and a craft activity at 3 p.m. for kids ages 7 and up (while supplies last). Book Buddy, the library’s mascot, will also greet visitors and light refreshments will be served.

A host of other special events are also planned for the remainder of the week.

Completed earlier this year, the construction project added 15,830 square feet of space to the existing 54,000-square-foot facility on Pioneer Boulevard off Woodlane Road, and an additional 4,800 square feet of space was renovated.

The updated library now features a spacious new entranceway and lobby with a modern circulation area, new restroom facilities, and an expanded Bestsellers Café that offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The new theater seats 250.

The addition also offers new meeting space and exhibit areas, a new Teen Zone, and a new children’s Storytelling Room. In addition, an express window has been added to the front of the building that allows motorists to pick up library material without leaving their cars.

“The library commission is to be congratulated,” Freeholder Leah Arter said, who serves as freeholder liaison to the commission. “It has elevated the main branch as the major hub of knowledge, resources and entertainment for all library users.

“Keep in mind that the library system has already been offering more than 3,600 programs a year,” Arter said. “It has served everyone, from families with preschoolers to those who enjoy downloading a good novel, and to those who still like a good hardback book.”

Patrons also will find renovated restroom facilities near the children’s area, a more functional layout, and comfortable new seating areas. A new library roof and heating and cooling units were also added during the construction.

In addition to the main library, BCLS includes seven branch facilities and nine member libraries that offer access to more than one million items, thousands of periodicals, and more than 60 elearning research resources. Also available are a wide variety of CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays, large print books, ebooks, genealogy material, foreign language titles, homeschool resources, public use computers, free WiFi access, the Borrow a Book Club, the Library in a Bag mail services program, and the Info-on-the-Go Bookmobile.

Programs are a major draw with offerings for adults, teens and children, including: a variety of computer and business classes; book clubs; indoor movies and performances; instruction in leisure time activities such as knitting, yoga, line dancing, and crafts; children’s storytimes; Lego building clubs; video and board games; programming for patrons with special needs; and more. The Burlington County library’s amphitheater, located adjacent to the Westampton facility, also hosts a free summer concert series in July and August.

Library Director Ranjna Das urged residents to attend the grand opening celebration and check out the library improvements for themselves. “We invite the public to see their ‘new’ and improved library and to take part in the fun events planned all week,” she said.

Following the April 28 ribbon cutting, there will be a week-long celebration at the library.

Scheduled events include:

Monday, April 29

10:30 a.m. — Drop in for Silly Storytime in the Storytelling Room.

2 p.m. — Make tissue paper flowers in the Youth Services Room (while supplies last).

2 p.m. — Monday at the Movies featuring a classic Shirley Temple film from the 1930s in the auditorium.

4:30 p.m. — Sew Special II for ages 8 to 12. Registration required.

7 p.m. — Sally Friedman presents Confessions of a Columnist in the auditorium. Sally will discuss how she became a writer and what she’s learned along the way. Afterward, she will read a selection of her most requested columns and take questions from the audience.

Tuesday, April 30

10:30 a.m. — Kids’ movie in the auditorium.

4 p.m. — Drop in for Silly Storytime in the Storytelling Room.

7 p.m. — Kids ages 7 to 11, Let Your Imagination Fly and learn how to create paper airplanes with Mr. Dennis — Registration required.

Wednesday, May 1

10:30 a.m. — Drop in for Silly Storytime in the Stortyelling Room.

4:30 p.m. — Make ’n Take Craft in the Youth Services Room (while supplies last).

2 p.m. — Burlington County Historian Joe Laufer presents The Burlington County Library System: A History — 1921–2013 — More than Just Books!” Learn the precedent-setting history of New Jersey’s first county library during this exciting new illustrated presentation in the auditorium.

4:30 p.m. — Legos at the Library for ages 7 to 12. Registration required.

7 p.m. — Join us in the auditorium for “Becoming American: Baseball’s Place in the Assimilation of Immigrants,” an exciting educational program about America’s favorite pastime. Funded by the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, this multimedia presentation explores the intriguing role that baseball has played in assimilating the waves of immigrants to the United States.

Thursday, May 2

10 a.m. — The new Grim Readers Book Group debuts with a discussion about Sue Grafton’s “V is for Vengeance.” Hosted by Judy Olsen, the mystery book group will meet on the first Thursday of the month (unless otherwise noted).Registration requested.

10:30 a.m. — Drop In for Silly Stortyime in the Storytelling Room.

4 p.m. — Make ‘n Take Craft for kids (while supplies last).

6 p.m. — Thursday at the Theater in the auditorium. In 19th Century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

7 p.m. — Puzzles and Games for kids in the Youth Services Room.

Friday, May 3

10:30 a.m. — Kids’ movie in the auditorium.

3 p.m. — Puzzles and Games for kids in the Youth Services Room.

6 p.m. and 8 p.m. — Enjoy a production of the pop culture phenomenon “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” presented in the auditorium by the Surflight Theater Company from Beach Haven. The Emmy Award winning 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series that taught history, grammar, math, science and politics through clever songs comes to the musical stage. Please note: advanced registration is required for this free program. Reservation tickets will be provided at the time of registration.

Saturday, May 4

10:30 a.m. — Kids’ movie in the auditorium.

2 p.m. — Nicole and Dean Greco present “Bottled Up: The Legend of Boost” in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Boost in Burlington County.

Burlington County library headquarters is open seven days a week: Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. (closed on Sundays in July and August): Mondays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closes at 5 p.m. on Fridays in July and August); and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the library’s grand opening festivities, call Jo Horton at (609) 267–9660, ext. 3036 or go to the BCLS website at www.bcls.lib.nj.us


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