After four years of planning and construction, Henrietta's new town library opens this week.
The two-story, 36,000 square-foot facility at 625 Calkins Road is just a half mile away from the old library which opened in 1978.
"I'm getting emails; I'm getting calls," said town library director Adrienne Pettinelli, from her desk in the new building. "People are just so excited to get in here and see this space and we're excited to finally be able to welcome them into their new library."
Libraries are used differently now than they were 40 years ago, she noted.
"Libraries aren't always quiet," Petinnelli explained. "Yes, there is quite space in here and that's very important. But also the idea of collaboration, communication, community - that's here. It's unmistakable when you walk in and I think people are going to be very excited about that."
The new library has what Pettinelli describes as 'robust' Wi-Fi, distinct spaces for teens and children, and a community room that can be used for meetings and presentations. A hearing loop system is available in both the community room and the children's activity room. While the hearing loop system isn't new technology, Pettinelli says it's important to accomodate Henrietta's deaf and hard of hearing population.
A grand opening is planned for Saturday, July 20. At 8:30 a.m. that day, residents will form a half-mile line from the old library to the new one and ceremonially pass the last book to be placed on the shelf at the new library.
Pettinelli says this is a nod to history, as community members moved all the books to the old library when it opened, and they volunteered to do the same thing this week.
"Well, in 1978 we had 20,000 books; we now have over 100,000 books", she laughed, "so obviously, we weren't going to have the community move them all, but we wanted to have something that would honor that really big piece of our history and to give people the opportunity to open their library and I think that is going to be really special."
The new Henrietta Library comes with a price tag of roughly $12.5 million.