MORE than 150 people gathered with “Rosie” the Merino ewe recently, for the re-opening of a newly-refurbished and expanded Upper Hunter Shire Library branch in Merriwa.
The old library site was situated on Bettington Street but has now been re-located around the corner on Vennacher Street and occupies part of the old Merriwa CTC Resource Centre.
Upper Hunter Shire Council (UHSC) library coordinator Elizabeth Walter explained that the “new library has almost doubled in size and will be good for community groups like book club, as well as for holiday book readings – it’s a community place for all of us to use”.
The new library now consists of two sections.
The lower section is aimed at younger users while a wheel-chair friendly ramp leads other users to the upper section.
Those also not wishing to borrow books may instead choose to borrow from the wide variety of audio compact discs or DVDs on display.
Mrs Walter also said that the new library would now be open for an additional two hours on Mondays and added that more hours could be offered pending community demand and subject to UHSC approval.
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen was at the opening, explaining that the state government had granted a total of $117,000 for the refurbishment and the UHSC had contributed $70,000.
Mr Johnsen admired the hard work of all involved.
“Libraries are part of the social fabric of communities and aren’t just places for learning,” he remarked.
“Libraries should also be inspiring places where imaginations can run wild.”
UHSC mayor Wayne Bedggood was also in attendance, paying homage to all those who helped in the move to the new library site as well as offering his sincere thanks.
Of special interest was the UHSC stand where community members could select the books they wanted to see made available for loan at the library - the chosen books would be then purchased by the UHSC.
The Merriwa Rotary Club worked tirelessly to feed sausage sandwiches to the appreciative crowd who enjoyed the group performances of the Merriwa Pre-school and Kindergarten, Merriwa Central School and St Joseph’s Primary Merriwa.
It was a great event and when asked if there was anyone among the UHSC or library staff who deserved special thanks, Mrs Walter simply replied: “There’s too many to mention, they all did a tremendous job.”