Warehouse Point library celebrates 200 years

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
East Windsor - posted Thu., Dec. 8, 2011
Library board members join state Sen. Gary Lebeau in celebrating the 200th anniversary. Left to right: Cindy Miller, Elyse Spielberg, Al Floyd, Donna Grant, state Sen. Gary Lebeau, Dave Pitney, Library Director Vincent Bologna and Marion Webber. Photos by Annie Gentile.
Library board members join state Sen. Gary Lebeau in celebrating the 200th anniversary. Left to right: Cindy Miller, Elyse Spielberg, Al Floyd, Donna Grant, state Sen. Gary Lebeau, Dave Pitney, Library Director Vincent Bologna and Marion Webber. Photos by Annie Gentile.

The Warehouse Point Public Library “grew up” in a few different homes and locations, but in all of its 200 years, the library has never wavered from its goal to serve the literary needs of the greater East Windsor community.

On Dec. 3, the library celebrated 200 years of service with an open house and video presentation of its many changes through the years. The celebration also included displays featuring pictures, postcards and photo albums of historical East Windsor loaned to the library from local residents and library patrons. Additionally, in another section of the library, minstrel and storyteller Mary Jo Maichack presented the children’s program, “King Frost and Chilly Tales for Chilly Children.”

Like many small town libraries, the history of the Warehouse Point Public Library relies on an oral history that includes an occasional gap or two. The seeds for the first library began humbly enough in 1811 in a private home, at some point moving to the Phelps Block, the location of the present Maine Fish Market Restaurant, on the corner of Main and Bridge streets, in 1879. The library remained in that location for 21 years, before moving to a brick building, now an apartment complex, across the street from the current police station. In 1937, the library moved to its current location at 107 Main St., over the years adding on and renovating the property.

Library Director Vincent Bologna said the community room, which was the venue for the celebration, was added to the building in 1970, and was upgraded in the early 1990s to include a slat wall and lighting for photographic displays.

“In 2008, we received a generous bequest from Eileen Ulsen, which was used to complete the room,” said Bologna.

At the presentation, Bologna unveiled a plaque recognizing Ulsen’s bequest, and state Sen. Gary Lebeau (D-3) presented an official citation from the General Assembly commemorating the library’s 200 years.

The additional work, which was supplemented by a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, included replacing the cracking floor tiles, refurbishing the kitchenette, repairing the large bay window, adding window treatments, and updating the electronics in the room to add Internet access and a projection television screen. Today the room is used by various non-profit groups, as well as for monthly movie showings, story hours and children’s programs.

“The library is open only two nights a week, so the community room is booked steadily,” said Anne Marie Kebschull, who coordinates publicity for the library.

These days, libraries are about much more than books, and Kebschull said the Warehouse Point Public Library provides a range of services, including WiFi and Internet access, uploadable e-books, an assortment of DVDs, and a variety of programs of interest to people of every age.

“People don’t always realize all the services that libraries offer today. You can go online and place holds on books not just at this library, but in any library in our system,” said Kebschull. “You can’t be stagnant in this day and age,” she said, adding that the library has recently purchased some TV series on DVD that patrons have been asking for.

Of course, no birthday celebration is complete without a cake, and Gabrielle Ladany, a freshman at East Windsor High School, created the perfect birthday confection - a cake in the shape of an open book.


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