2010-09-16 / Front Page

Library Opening Soon

Oct. 23 Is Open House
By Josh Perttunen

Melanie Greenfield reads one of the library's many donated books to her son, Quinton Greenfield, 3, Friday, September 10. She is president of Friends of the Pickford Library, a group working to establish the first library in the town. More than 1,500 books are waiting to be catalogued at the Pickford location. Melanie Greenfield reads one of the library's many donated books to her son, Quinton Greenfield, 3, Friday, September 10. She is president of Friends of the Pickford Library, a group working to establish the first library in the town. More than 1,500 books are waiting to be catalogued at the Pickford location. While some public libraries across the country are slashing hours and services, or sometimes closing entirely in the face of budget woes, people in the village of Pickford have been busy raising funds and planning to establish a Pickford Community Library. Through three years of hard work and a swell of community support, the Friends of the Pickford Community Library have raised $62,000 of the $70,000 needed for a three-year period of operation, meaning the library will open in late September or early October. It is the first public library in Pickford's history.

“It feels really good to be this close,” said Melanie Greenfield, Friends of the Pickford Community Library president. “We still have the final $8,000 to raise, but it feels good to be this far along. The library has a physical presence now, including a building, an increasing collection of books, and a phone number.”

New librarian Michelle Satchell is excited to begin the process of creating a library that is open to everyone. She also is impressed with the Pickford location. “Why build something new when you can breathe life into an old building?” she asked. “They have so much character.” New librarian Michelle Satchell is excited to begin the process of creating a library that is open to everyone. She also is impressed with the Pickford location. “Why build something new when you can breathe life into an old building?” she asked. “They have so much character.” With the August hiring of a part-time librarian, Michelle Satchell, and the earlier selection of the former Watson's Shoe Store location as the interim site, work has been ongoing to catalogue books, stock shelves, arrange furniture, and make the building a hospitable location for everyone in the community. Changes to the interior included painting the walls, refinishing the floor, and removing some of the interior partitions.

“It's not very often libraries get a chance to start from scratch like this,” Mrs. Satchell said. “This is coming from just an idea. It was born out of community involvement, donations, and hundreds of volunteer hours.”

The library will be a satellite of Bayliss Public Library in Sault Ste. Marie, becoming the sixth branch of the larger institution. The path taken to arrive at this point is similar to the one Cedarville navigated in founding its library.

As was the case with the neighboring town, Bayliss director Ken Miller offered advice to library advocates on how to create a friends of the library group to undertake fundraising efforts for the new facility. The original amount targeted for start-up and three years of operation was $115,000. The friends of the library group started raising funds in March 2008.

Nearly $25,000 is anticipated to come from penal fines, distributed to each township on a per capita basis. Since Pickford lacked a library, these funds previously went to the Bayliss Public Library, the nearest facility serving the Pickford community, but will now be funneled back into the area.

The project also received $10,000 from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, while approximately $17,500 has been contributed or pledged by local businesses, the friends of the library board, and community members.

Ongoing fundraisers are expected to account for $18,000 in a threeyear span.

Mr. Miller said he couldn't have found a better fit to staff the new library. Mrs. Satchell, who moved to the Eastern Upper Peninsula from the Houghton area when her husband, Erin, accepted a job as an engineer with the soil district conservation office in Sault Ste. Marie, is excited to be in the position to staff the fledgling library for 20 hours a week.

The position aligns with her family's emphasis on reading, she said. Her husband reads to their three children, Michael, Jacob, and Benjamin, before bed each night.

While Bayliss will be providing assistance, the Pickford Community Library will be largely autonomous. Mrs. Satchell is completing training at the parent library for a few days each week to familiarize herself with the relationship Bayliss has with its satellites, as well as to catalogue books to go to the Pickford location.

The Friends of the Pickford Library group has adopted a quote by Margaret Mead as their motto: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Impressed with the dedication of the friends group, Mr. Miller said he had no doubt they would succeed.

“You don't just put it together in a minute,” Mr. Miller said. “It takes a lot of hard work in the

background. We've been able to leverage a whole bunch of grant funding and donations from the community.”

The board still has positions open and is always looking for volunteers, said Mrs. Greenfield. Those interested may call 647-2556 or email Kenandmel@sault.com.

The Pickford Community Library is also accepting donated gently used books, said Mrs. Satchell, which may be dropped off at the site in Pickford or at Bayliss Public Library in Sault Ste. Marie, care of the Pickford Community Library. The only requirement is that the books not be musty or outof date.

With a likely opening in late September or early October, an official grand opening has been set for Saturday, October 23.

Hours of operation will be Tuesday (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.), Wednesday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Thursday (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Friday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), and Saturday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

The building will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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