Bricks for Books drive continues

by Town Reminder

Second library patio can hold more engraved bricks

By William Pead
Turley Correspondent

SOUTH HADLEY – The new South Hadley Public Library at Main and Canal streets in the Falls neighborhood is less than a month away from its grand opening, but the Bricks For Books Drive is still going strong. For a modest price, you too can buy an engraved brick and play an important role in filling the library with books.
Library Director Joseph Rodio and the staff are looking forward to the big move to a bigger state of the art facility. The brick drive was community-driven. He said, “We didn’t originally plan to do a brick fundraiser, but we had a lot of people coming in asking if we were going to be selling bricks. And it was really an idea generated by people who wanted to support the library and saw this as good way.” Rodio said response has been terrific.
Library Bricks A
The donor brick patio from phase one of the drive has been installed outside the new building, featuring personalized bricks with messages like, “Open Minds Begin With Open Books” and “Let Freedom Ring.” Other bricks are inscribed with family names of those who bought the bricks. Each brick leaves the mark of a generous donor who supports the new library.
“Some of my favorite bricks have literary quotes on them, from a favorite book or favorite author,” said Rodio.
He said people have been walking up there to see their bricks and the new library. “Its spurred interest of people to buy additional bricks, and we certainly have space to grow in that donor patio.” He said phase two of the brick drive was kicked-off at FallsFest.
As for an ultimate goal, Rodio said, “This could be an ongoing fundraiser for many years. There’s a capacity of just over 2,000 bricks in that patio. Our first installation saw about 200 bricks installed.” He added, “We certainly have room to grow after this phase. If there continues to be interest, we may repeat it again in the future.”
Bricks for phase two of the Bricks for Books drive range from $100 for a four by-eight inch paver, and $200 for an eight by eight-inch paver, to $300 for an eight by eight-inch tiger paw paver, topping out at $1,000 for a twelve by twelve-inch paver with logo.
The bricks are ruby red/onyx colored concrete with white ebony infill, and complementary to the brick face of the library itself. Each will be installed in sand to provide weather resistance. Visit the library on Bardwell Street for order forms.
Meanwhile, the town is seeking proposals for the purchase and redevelopment of the current library building on Bardwell Street. It’s an 8,800 square foot building on a half-acre of land. The building is historic, dating back to 1906. Andrew Carnegie donated $10,000 dollars for the town to construct a public library in the Falls. The Colonial Revival red brick building was designed by resident William Skinner and the firm of Putnam & Cox. A 1974 project added 5,100 square feet.
When will the new library open for business? Rodio said the current library will close on Aug. 18 to begin the transfer books and materials to the new building up the hill.
Professional movers who actually specialize in moving libraries will perform the transfer. “It’s a much bigger logistical endeavor than people would imagine,” said Rodio. “We have over 50,000 items in the library to move from here to there.”
The soft opening date for the new library is the week of Aug. 25.