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Chester County Press

Editorial: The beams of imagination

07/19/2022 12:54PM ● By Richard Gaw

At about 10 a.m. last Thursday, July 14, a young mother left the Kennett Library on State Street, balancing both a bag of borrowed books and a young infant in her arms.

At precisely the very same moment and within 50 yards of the mother and her child, a ceremonial beam was being lifted into the sky and eventually secured at the site of what will become the Kennett Library & Resource Center, scheduled to open next spring.

The beam, carried by crane and then locked into place as part of a “topping off” ceremony that morning, contained the signatures of over 150 financial stakeholders, elected and appointed officials, and mothers and fathers and their children, who scripted their names and their best wishes. At the moment, it seemed that nothing – not even the most terrifying image one could imagine – could ever affect that beam as it was slowly maneuvered in the air.

It was the solid oath, the firmament, the promise made by a group of big dreamers to the citizens of southern Chester County that a new, 33,425 square-foot library will be built along State Street and serve thousands of individuals and families in eight municipalities.

Slowly, the new library is emerging from the craggy gray dirt of its foundation, in stunning defiance of those who once told the big dreamers years ago that nothing of this magnitude and size could ever secure the funding to get it built. Yet, there it is; the ceremonial beam has now been fastened to the maroon schematic of the new library’s construction – the unbreakable evidence of a campaign that has already raised nearly $16 million toward its $21 million goal.

While the goodwishers spoke with eloquence to other goodwishers at the ceremony, the true and future beneficiaries of this new library were nowhere to be seen. They were off riding their bikes and tossing balls in backyards. They were searching for slimy critters in ponds and creating their own paradises out of makeshift parts. They were at sleep-away camps and enjoying summer vacations. They were forming the stunning potential of their imaginations.

They were leaving an old library on State Street carried in the arms of their mother, at the exact moment a beam was being added to other beams at what will become a place where the imagination will have a permanent home.  

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