MASON — The longtime dream of many came to fruition Friday with the official dedication of the Robert and Louise Claflin Annex at the Mason City Library.
The 20- by 40-foot room was built with a $40,000 grant from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation. The addition houses children’s books, and serves as a room for youth activities, such as story hour and summer reading. It is also available to the community and organizations for meetings.
The ceremonial ribbon was cut by Pam Thompson, county library director; Stephen Littlepage, president of the Claflin Foundation; John Gerlach, county administrator; and Diana Cromley, county library board president.
Thompson welcomed those attending the ceremony, telling of her dream of over 20 years.
“Dreams of a new room were a long time in coming,” she said. “Twenty-two years ago I started as a branch librarian in this library. As I moved from this library to director of the Mason County Library System, it was still a dream.”
She continued, “The staff shared our excitement when our dream became a possibility and then, with the aid of the Claflin Foundation with financing, and the county commission with the labor, our dreams became reality.”
Littlepage said he, too, was glad to see the project get off the ground and become a reality. He said Robert Claflin often said he felt people didn’t read enough. Littlepage said he felt the couple would be pleased with the addition.
He said he feels the annex will be of great benefit to the community, and not only the library patrons. Open to civic-minded organizations, Littlepage said it will be a good place for Boy and Girl Scout meetings, as well as other activities.
Littlepage reminisced that the gazebo built at the adjoining Virgil A. Lewis Memorial Reading Park was the foundation’s “first footprint” in the Town of Mason, followed by the baseball stadium at the J.C. Cook Field.
“We hope to continue to make a footprint here,” he concluded.
Both Mason County Commissioner Rick Handley and County Administrator John Gerlach praised the Claflin Foundation for all of the contributions it has made to the county. They also recognized county employees Tracy McCormick and Tommy Wilson, who built the annex.
Among other officials attending the dedication were Claflin Foundation committee members Gary Fields and Dr. Jim Lockhart; Cabell County Library Director Judy Rule; Mason council member Bob Wing; Mason Police Chief Greg Roush; library board members Beverly Durst, Phyllis Arthur and Mindy Kearns; and Scott Brewer, House of Delegates, 13th District. Brewer was also recognized as being the main builder of the reading park gazebo.
Cake and punch were served following the ceremony by library employees April Lloyd, Susan Petry, and Sheila Roush, and library volunteer Teresa Gibbs.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.