While a harpist and violinist played and caterers set out a feast last night, 107 guests of the Friends of Way Library were the first to see the expanded Perrysburg library.
“It's almost like your living room - the furniture that's here, they've got fireplaces in several areas,” raved Perrysburg Municipal Judge Dwight Osterud.
Make that eight gas fireplaces in the library, which had none until the year-long, $7.8 million renovation that doubled its size to 44,000 square feet. That gave the library space for 60 computers available to patrons - up from seven - and numerous comfortable upholstered seats and a piano.
Annette Wanick, a Rogers High School teacher whose husband, Jack, is a library trustee, was pleased with how the exterior of the old building was preserved and its style used in the addition that wraps around three sides.
“I would have hated to see them tear that all out,” Mrs. Wanick said.
The original 12,000-square-foot building was constructed about 40 years ago. It was nearly doubled in size by an addition about 20 years ago.
Keeping the best of those original elements was the biggest challenge for architects Hal and David Munger of Munger Munger & Associates.
But their firm had a history in the work. The brothers' father, Harold C. Munger, who died in July, helped design the original building and both additions. Their grandfather, Harold H. Munger, worked on the original. And their great-grandfather, along with their grandfather, father, and Hal have served on the library board.
To Anna Bristol, president of the 100-member Friends of Way Library, one of the best additions is a coffee bar where volunteers and staff hope to make money selling snacks.
The single most expensive addition is unlikely to ever pay its own way, director Nancy Kelley said.
The library used part of a $75,000 donation from Edward and Marion Knight to buy a $9,000 scanner that patrons can use to make copies of old books at a cost of 30 cents a page for color and 10 cents for black and white. It will be used for documents in the local history department that librarians previously did not allow to be used on copy machines for fear of damage to fragile bindings.
Chris Lawless, a computer programmer who patronizes the library three times a week, liked the aquarium and Volkswagen Beetle loveseats in the children's section. The children's section has its own story room for the first time with a restroom just off of it.
In addition, there are four meeting rooms at the library so local groups will not be limited to using rooms only four times a year.
The library reopens to the public tomorrow. That's ahead of the original schedule and is largely because the library moved its services to the Country Charm shopping center for a year instead of trying to work out of the building at East Indiana Street and Louisiana Avenue as it was renovated.
The work was paid for with a $7.8 million bond issue that voters passed in November, 1999. The 1.58-mill, 27-year levy costs $48 a year for a home valued at $100,000.
No taxpayers' money was used for last night's celebration, which started with drinks and appetizers on the coffee bar and ended there with elaborate tortes and cheesecakes.