Grafton Library’s anniversary celebration set for June 24

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Grafton Public Library. Photo/submitted

Grafton – The Grafton Public Library will hold a free 90th anniversary celebration Saturday, June 24, featuring family friendly activities like field day games, musical performances with Mr. Kim and Miss Jan from Apple Tree Arts, delicious refreshments and raffle prizes. Events will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Grafton Common. June 25 is the rain date.

The event is hosted by the Grafton Public Library, Friends of the Library and the Trustees at the Grafton Common to commemorate the 1927 opening of the library and the birthday of Jerome Wheelock, the Grafton resident who provided the funding for the library.

“We wanted to create an event for everyone to enjoy and celebrate the anniversary of the town having such a great resource like the library,” said Aaron Vandesteen, chair of the Celebration Committee and library trustee. “Throughout the day, children and families can enjoy an inflatable obstacle course, a photo booth, badminton, bubble zone, face painting, classic car model T’s of the 1927 era and summer-time refreshments. Free raffle tickets for prizes will be earned by participating in activities or winning at the ticket wheel.”

Other free activities include tug of war pull, freeze tag, rope pull, sack race and a henna tattoo station. Refreshments will be served including a cake to honor Jerome Wheelock’s 183rd birthday, lemonade and snow cones. Food vendors will available for attendees to purchase lunch.

During the event, Mr. Wheelock will stroll through the common and talk a bit about his inventions and vision for the library. In 1902, he bequeathed $100,000 for the town to build a library. Oscar Thayer, a well-known architect designed the colonial Georgian-style building that was completed in 1927. Mr. Wheelock’s only request in return for his generous donation was to have a statue of him placed on the common.

In May of this year, Grafton citizens approved the design and funding for an expanded modern library of just under 26,000 square feet with an estimated cost of $16.6 million.

“In the past five years, the library has experienced a surge of circulation of about 35 percent and patron visits have increased by an unprecedented 46 percent,” explained Beth Gallaway, library director. “Our circa 1927 building has served the town well. I’m sure Mr. Wheelock would be happy to see his legacy thriving so well in Grafton.”

The library applied for a state construction grant to help defray the costs of the new building.

“We fully anticipate the state will award us a grant of about 45 percent toward costs for the construction,” Gallaway said. “Finally, the citizens of Grafton will be able to see a return on their investment since the state legislation funds the grant.”

The Grafton Public Capital Campaign, a 501(c)3 organization is fundraising to support the renovation and improvement of the library with additional funds.