Friends of Kennett Library & Resource Center receive preview tour11/22/2022 04:20PM ● By Richard Gaw
Photo by Richard L. Gaw On Nov. 16, key stakeholders for the new Kennett Library & Resource Center received a preview tour of the new building, which is slated for opening in May 2023.
By Richard L. Gaw
In the same fashion a new Broadway show holds an initial reading, and in the mold of a future Cy Young award-winner developing a new pitch before a watchful coach in an empty ballpark, so too do major structures deserve a sneak peek before their grand unveiling.
On Nov. 16, more than one dozen stakeholders of the new Kennett Library & Resource Center received a preview tour of what will become a 31,485-square-foot gateway to education, technology and community when it opens next May.
Conducted by Kennett Library Director Christopher Manna and construction project manager Mike Buck, the tour covered the entire breadth of the two-story building, much of which will be bathed in natural sunlight from two-story glass windows that will face north. The first floor, whose walls will be accented by Avondale brownstone, will feature a circulation desk; an audio and video recording area that can be converted into a podcast studio; a room for quiet study that will feature a fireplace, classic furniture and provide visitors with an historical overview of Kennett Square; rows of shelving for books; a group study room and classroom; a rotating art gallery that will feature the work of local artists and students; and a 110-seat, five-row auditorium that will be used for performances, lectures and other public presentations.
The venue will also include a 16’ x 12’ foot screen that will be used for film festivals and Friday Night screenings. In the future, it will also include four cameras that will provide live streaming of Library events.
The tour then moved to the second floor, where Manna and Buck introduced a wide expanse of space that will be dedicated largely to children, and creative and educational opportunities. It will include reading areas and books for children; group study, reading and creative spaces for young adults; an adult maker space; several multi-purpose and conference rooms; and the Melton Terrace, an outdoor seating area overlooking State Street that is named in memory of Dennis Melton, the Library’s architect of record.
The second floor will also feature tutor rooms that will serve the Library’s expanding Adult Literacy and English as a Second Language programs, which through video and Zoom capability will provide students with the option of attending classes in person or from home.
“I am very excited, because we will have the space for our students, not just for tutoring but for classes,” said Filomena M. Elliott, the Library’s director of its Adult Literacy Program. “With this availability for small gatherings, for our GED and math classes and for our students who are studying for American citizenship, it’s invaluable space for me.
“We are teaching 11 classes a week, and otherwise, I would be paying thousands of dollars to places in the community in order to rent spaces for classrooms.”
While the Kennett Library & Resource Center continues to be built, it is doing so in concert with the Library’s capital campaign efforts. Currently, the campaign has raised more than $17 million toward a $21.7 million goal.
Kennett Square resident and Library supporter Sandy Lee said she has seen the evolution of the new library from conception to reality.
“It was really important to several members of the community to keep the Library in town,” she said. “It was as struggle for a long time and nothing happened, and then (Chairman Emeritus) Thomas Swett came along and galvanized the board, and with the energy of (Trustee and Campaign Chairman) Collis Townsend, (Board President) Jeff Yetter and (Campaign Associate) Mary Hutchins, great things have begun to happen.
“I am most excited to see the opportunities that will be presented to the entire community.”
For updates about the new Kennett Library & Resource Center, visit www.campaign4kennettlibrary.org.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].