New Pa. library nearly ready for readers

January 26, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Isaac Asimov, Norman Mailer, William Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss are getting packed up and readied for the 200-yard trip across U.S. 30 this weekend to a new home in the $3.5 million Grove Family Library.

Patrons will find a lot more elbow room in the reading rooms of the 17,000-square-foot library, which will open in early February, according to Bernice Crouse, executive director of the Franklin County Library System. It replaces the cramped, 48-year-old Ragged Edge Library, which will be closed to normal library service at 2 p.m. today, she said.

The library is named for the late John L. Grove, a founder of Grove Manufacturing and JLG Industries, and his late wife, Cora I. Grove. She donated $500,000 for the new library in 2004 and the couple's estate bequeathed $1 million after her death last year.


This Friday and Saturday, volunteers will load up the literature for the short drive from the Ragged Edge Library to the Grove Family Library. Millie Komski, an AmeriCorps volunteer, said she has lined up 90 people to help with the move and Crouse said others have volunteered to pitch in.

Along with the library and its offices, Crouse said the building also will house the county library system headquarters, which has been moved from the Coyle Free Library in Chambersburg. An office and storage space for the county Bookmobile also will be there, she said.

While the Groves provided the lion's share of funds raised so far, a total of 1,170 donors have contributed $2,595,000, according to Norma Bigham, the fundraising consultant for the project. She said about $800,000 still has to be raised.

"Most of our money is coming in small increments from people all over the county," Crouse said. A Millennium Club has been formed to raise $1,000 each from 1,000 individuals, families or entities so the library is debt-free by 2008, an effort Bigham said has raised $30,000 since September.

"We still have rooms and areas we can name" for large contributors, Crouse said.

In-kind contributions have been important, said Crouse. Guilford Township donated the 3-acre site and is extending Ragged Edge Road south of U.S. 30 to the building. Greene Township chipped in by laying the parking lot and most of the contractors and companies working on the building donated some of their services, she said.

Designed by Newcomer Associates of Chambersburg, the general contractor for the library is Brechbill & Helman Construction Co. Inc. of Chambersburg, Crouse said.

A two-story clock tower dominates the lobby of the library, which has a spacious children's area, additional public computer stations, a community room, an audio-visual room, study rooms and other amenities.

While the library could open by Feb. 1, Crouse said a public open house is planned for March with a "Grand Opening Extravaganza" set for April 8, a catered affair during which a portrait of the Groves will be unveiled.

How to help

For information about making a donation to the Grove Family Library, contact Bernice Crouse or Norman Bigham at 717-709-0282 or the library Web site at

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