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Hudson Valley Press

September 5th, 2012

Newburgh Free Library opens up new branch

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Newburgh Free Library’s recently opened Newburgh Mall branch was held on Wednesday afternoon, August 29, 2012. Photo Provided
NEWBURGH - Muriel Verdibello gets a common reaction when people find out about the latest addition to the Newburgh Mall.

“They smile, and tell me it’s about time,” said Verdibello, Library Director of the Newburgh Free Library as well as its latest extension, located near Bon Ton in the Newburgh Mall.

Verdibello was joined by several dignitaries, along with grateful residents, on Wednesday afternoon, August 29th at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the much-anticipated new library branch. Already unofficially open for business for the past six weeks, the library addition has enjoyed a steady flow of patrons, along with the issuance of several new library cards.

It’s exactly the response that those who envisioned the extension were hoping for when they put the plan, which took just 10 weeks, into motion. Moving into a location that had previously been used as a bookstore meant that the extension branch was blessed with having shelves already put in place.

“This place was opened to provide convenient access for all people in Newburgh, specifically the Towns of Newburgh and New Windsor,” said Chuck Thomas, Outreach Services for the Newburgh Free Library. “It will never replace the one on Grand Street, but the response for it has been great, and there is just so much overall gratitude; people come up to me all the time and say thank you.”

That appreciation is far-reaching. Some like the convenient location. Others are happiest about the special offerings.

“My grandparents have visited this mall located library often and love it,” said Kristen Mullarkey of New Windsor. “You can do everything on-line for this place, and it has a really good children’s section and programs; I also think it’s really going to get people to come to the mall and help generate business here.”

Verdibello, a librarian for 35 years, pondered about the library concept for a long time. Speaking at last week’s ceremony, she couldn’t have been more pleased with its realization.

“This is the perfect place because of the parking; plus you can multi-task, shop and even go see the dentist while you come here,” said Verdibello. “There was not a person on the library staff who has not contributed; without them, this would not have happened.”

Newburgh Enlarged City School District also played a pivotal role in the opening of the new branch. The Newburgh Library is one of the few in the state governed by its school district. The bond makes for some powerful possibilities.

“We are here today to celebrate a new chapter; the School District and Library have been partners for over 150 years,” said Ralph Pizzo, Superintendent of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. “This summer we were offered a chance to extend the library, and today you see the result of all of that work.” Pizzo added, “Despite the growth of electronics, people still continue to value books.”

Support for the library extends to the local political sphere. Several politicians were on hand at the Ribbon Cutting, including Gil Piaquadio, Town of New Newburgh Deputy Supervisor and Wayne Booth, Town of Newburgh Supervisor.

“All of us on the Council are so glad to see this happen, especially for the youth,” said Piaquadio. “The library is a great place for them to hang out, and we will do whatever it takes to help out.”

“This is a great example of public and private partnership,” added Supervisor Booth.

The new branch will be open 48 hours a week. In addition to being able to check out your favorite books, the new location will offer book discussions, computer system operation workshops, surveys about what people want to see at the new library as well as a Book Mobile, to be held September 19th, from 12-6 p.m. in the mall parking lot.
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