Library gets new home

Published 7:27 pm Monday, March 17, 2014

JONATHAN ROWE | DAILY NEWS A visitor at the grand opening of Bath Community Library examines a newly renovated lobby at the library.

A visitor at the grand opening of Bath Community Library examines a newly renovated lobby at the library.


BATH — In an impressive turnout, the Friends of the Bath Community Library debuted the new Bath Community Library in a grand opening Saturday with a ribbon-cutting, several speeches and a reception.

According to Beaufort-Hyde-Martin Regional Library System Director Susan Benning, the campaign for a new library was started when the Bath High School Preservation Group began raising money in 2005 to renovate the former high school building. The group held annual fundraisers for the past eight years, raising enough money to put a new roof on the building and replace windows, making the building secure enough until funds are raised to finish the project.

Benning said that’s when the group deemed it a good idea to move the library to the former high school. The library was previously located on Carteret Street in Bath.

“It was a nice, little, quaint building, but very small,” said Benning. “The commitment was made by the Friends of the Bath Library to move into this space.”

In addition, the Golden LEAF Foundation awarded $250,000 in grant money to the library. This played a huge role in the building’s renovation as well.

“We gave this grant as part of an infrastructure project to help make sure the town could afford to grow,” said Dan Gerlach, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation. “This kind of money is going to help make a difference in helping the town move forward. The library is a place where a lot of people can go look for jobs and do research. In a time we are facing double-digit unemployment in too many counties, the library is an important resource. It is place where a lot of members of this community have put their own money in, and that is very impressive to our board and why we are proud to be apart of it today.”

According to Benning, money was raised for interior work by seeking grants. Southern Bank, the Historic Bath Foundation Inc., Walmart and Enchanted Gardens awarded grants to BHM Regional Library. The grants funded furnishings, including a circulation desk, public seating, a children’s area, an adult fiction/nonfiction area, computer area and shelving. The Friends of the Bath Community Library contributed new paint and new carpet for the building’s interior of the, as well as paying monthly expenses.

“Without them, there would not be a library in Bath,” Benning said. “They pay the monthly expenses to keep it operating.”

Several grants are pending. The grant applications were written by Ruth Peterson, a member of the Friends of the Bath Community Library and chairwoman of the grants fundraising committee for the second phase of the project. That money, if obtained, would pay for new computers and interior furnishings to complete the project.

Bath Community Library is located at 102 S. Harding St. For more information on Bath Community Library or to make a donation, call Susan Benning, director of BHM Regional Library System, at 946-6401.