For nearly 150 years, the Mentor Public Library Read House has sheltered four families. With the Sept. 19 grand opening, the home will now host public events for many families in the years to come.
For “born and raised Mentorite” Barb Lingafelter, attending the grand opening brought back a cherished childhood memory of attending a birthday party held for one of the Reed family members who had lived in the home. She approves of the library preserving the 1868 Gothic Revival home for future generations.
“This is so exciting,” Lingafelter said. “I think it is a wonderful facility and it has all the programs for children. We will also be able to enjoy the summer concerts here. It is so nice to be able to enjoy this area.”
Lingafelter’s husband, Don, said the addition of the Read House to the Main Library campus is an accomplishment and benefit to the library and the community.
“I think it is wonderful that you have put it to use like this,” he said. “It is right next to the library and it is so convenient,” he said.
Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mentor Public Library Board of Trustees President Amy Frank-Hensley said to the audience that preparing the home for public use and the new home of the Friends of the Mentor Public Library was a “tough, but great journey.”
“We have taken this unique opportunity to connect with the community in a different way,” Frank-Hensley said of the Read House. “Our library is not just about books, it is about community.”
One of those community connections is a birth to five-years-old story time group to be held in the Early Literacy Room inside the Read House. The goal of the story time program is to create a culture of young readers and support early literacy, one of the library’s strategic plan service points.
Seven-year-old Ryan Nichols is particularly excited about the library’s newest facility. After all, it was at the Read House grounds where he participated in his favorite program, a round of miniature golf at last year’s party to celebrate the end of the library’s summer reading program.
“For a kid, it gives us plenty of great things to do,” he said. “I think it is a good idea to have extra space because we can have even more end-of-summer reading parties.”
Frank-Hensley said she expects the Read House will host many more days and nights of fun, as well as many children learning to love books under its roof.
“It is our community,” she said. “It is our library. There are
wonderful opportunities here and I am looking forward to what becomes of this.”