WARDSBORO -- Despite the heavy snowfall, there was a big turnout for the celebration of the completion of the Wardsboro Library renovation, last week.
A capital campaign had been launched by the non-profit group the Friends of the Wardsboro Library in 2007 with the goal of expanding the Red Barn, which connected additional rooms to the library.
"We had no idea it would get done," said Joyce Cailor, one of the founding members of the Friends group. "It is amazing."
On Dec. 15 there was a reception at the Wardsboro Library to honor the many volunteers and donors who had assisted with the newly renovated and expanded building at 170 Main St.
The Friends of the Wardsboro Library was founded in 1999.
"Since then, it's been a remarkable journey," said Nancy Ferrucci, chairwoman of the group. "I'm always inspired by the women who have been with us since the beginning and their dedication."
From 2007 until 2013, residents of Wardsboro, Stratton, Jamaica and Newfane chipped in and helped with different tasks.
Ferrucci told the Reformer that the final phases of renovation took place from June 2011 to December 2013. There was a volunteer crew that did all the Sheetrock. Then there was another crew that assisted with the insulation and another that installed the heating ventilation and air conditioning system.
"Because of the volunteers, we were able to finish under budget," said Cailor.
Matching grants also came in handy. The most recent one came from the Vermont Arts Council, for the HVAC system. Previously, the council had awarded a matching grant for insulating the building.
"They've been tremendous with their support," said Ferrucci.
Before any of those dollars could be spent, the Friends of the Wardsboro Library had to fundraise so that it could match the grant.
Renovation at the library building was also aided through grants made available by the state and administered by the Vermont Cultural Facilities Coalition as well as the Vermont Historical Society and Department of Historic Preservation.
The Friends of the Wardsboro Library group owns the building. The heating and electricity is paid for by the group.
"The library in this building was done in 2000," said member Linda Gifkins. "It was moved from Town Hall to just two rooms in the front. They just finished the barn. It was closed for two months this summer when they did demolition work."
Chris Holden, one of the founders of the Friends of the Wardsboro Library who is currently director, was at the celebration. She used to take care of the woman who had left the town her house, which has since become the library.
"It's wonderful," said Holden of the renovation. "It's hard to realize that we've reached one of our big goals."
Cailor showed attendees a piece of barn board that contained writing from an era before newspapers were around. Her husband had found it while working on the library. One person had written that President Garfield was shot. There were notes about the weather and others about vegetation.
"Wild strawberries and cream," stated a message on the board.
Another read: "Potato bugs annihilated in one day."
There was another interesting point regarding the reception area, which Cailor mentioned.
"Where we're standing was a pig sty," she said.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.