Thanks over $900,000 in donations and years of planning, City Librarian Martha Brogan cut the ribbon on the newest renovations to Ives Memorial Library.
The ribbon-cutting at the downtown Elm Street main branch, evening saw the opening of a new teen center on the lower level. The center is enclosed in a 25-foot by 35-foot glass space, soundproofed to allow a more open space for teens to gather. In addition to providing a selection of young adult books, magazines, manga and anime, the center provides the latest technology for gaming and research. Teenagers were already taking advantage of the game consoles while the ribbon-cutting ceremony was taking place in front of them.
Mayor Toni Harp said she was especially pleased by the teen space because the city’s youth should a place they can “call all their own.”
“There’s always something more to be read, always something new to learn in the library,” Harp said.
The library also has a new gallery space and a space to display some of the library’s largest books. Harp said no detail had been overlooked in the design and completion of the renovations. She thanked project designer Bill McMullen for his vision for intellectual exploration and rewarding discovery through the library’s newest spaces.
She said she can already imagine concerts and poetry readings in the new performance space at the back of library, understanding that the library already has people lined up for afternoon concerts throughout the rest of the summer.
The library was already alive with artistic activity on Monday, as New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) Board President Michael Morand showcased his photography in an exhibit in the newly renovated space. Martha Brogan described the exhibit as some of Morand’s “greatest hits,” most of which have appeared on social media.
Speaking of his own commitment to the NHFPL, Morand claimed no other country like America benefits from such a wealthy public library system, and that a great city like New Haven deserves a great library.
“Libraries are not books and bricks and mortar. They are people,” he said, thanking and acknowledging staffers. He called them “the most driven people I’ve ever met.”
State Librarian Kendall Wiggin said New Haven is lucky to have a mayor who cares for the library system and understands its importance. The Board of Alders last month voted for the library to have four new full-time positions as part of the city budget.
The ribbon-cutting coincides with another library “first”: On Monday, the organization launched a series of reading-centered events running from between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays on the New Haven Green. Families and neighbors are encouraged to attend, making use of the library’s mobile-library: the Readmobile.