Homer Library Opens, Dedication August 25


This article courtesy of the Homer Public Library

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HOMER-The new Homer Public Library will be dedicated to Homer philanthropists George and Betty Petredean Saturday, August 25, but the building has been open and used since early July. A public open house will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the dedication ceremony at 2:30 p.m.

Over $300,000 of the project's $780,000 cost was donated by the Petredeans. A cast bronze plaque scheduled for installation before the open house will dedicate the library to the couple for their vision and generosity, and gold letters over the door to the facility's meeting room will acknowledge their commitment to Homer. George Petredean is the retired CEO of Calhoun Foundry. The couple has supported community improvement, the arts and education in many ways, including the establishment of a pair of scholarships for Homer students.

Other funds for the building were from individuals, groups, corporations and businesses, memorials and grants. A plaque identifying them and recognizing this broad-based support will also be placed in the library in time for the dedication. Future donations will not be listed on the plaque but will be recorded and acknowledged by the library's board of directors.

A six-year millage passed last year in Homer, Clarendon and Albion townships will provide operating funds to support the new facility.

"The best thing about being in the new library is having over two dozen people in here at a time, and no one is crowded," said Sandi VanWert, the library director. "People can sit to read books, magazines and newspapers. They use the computers, and they look for books. It's fantastic!"

The staff is filling the shelves with books and materials they never had room to display before the move, but there is still plenty of space for growth in years to come VanWert said.

The spacious 6,400 square foot split-faced block and field stone building at the west end of Main Street is more than eight times larger that the one it replaces. That former library, which is connected to the new one by an atrium walkway, will become the Homer Community Foundation office as soon as renovations are completed.

Library staff and volunteers moved books and equipment into the new facility during the last week in June, and over 300 people visited the new library the first two days it was open VanWert said. Over 25 families were issued library cards in its first two weeks of operation. "We're seeing a lot of new people," she said. "And all this happened while we were in the middle of our summer reading program involving 400 students."

From start to finish, the project took less than three years to complete, said library board vice president JoAnne Miller. The library board visited other new libraries, studied local needs, and began developing plans after George and Betty Petredean made the initial donation. Ground breaking took place one year ago on July 7, and construction began last fall. "The board has had assistance and input from so many people, it is impossible to name them all-even with the plaques and the dedication ceremony. This has been a true example of community support and a labor of love for everyone involved," Miller said.

Tax deductible donations for additional furniture and other items may be sent to the Homer Public Library Building Fund, 104 S. Hillsdale Street, Homer, MI 49245.

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