Although it opened for use at the end of August, the official opening ceremony of the New Library was held last Friday afternoon. The event consisted of an official ribbon cutting, a plaque dedication, the placing of a time capsule to be opened in 50 years for the College’s bicentennial, and speeches by prominent members of the College administration.
Symbolizing the official opening, Susanne Svizeny, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, used a giant pair of scissors to cut a large ribbon spanning the entrance to the library.
Taras Pavlovsky, dean of the New Library and main speaker at the event, said he hoped the new library would become the “intellectual, cultural and social center of the College.”
The Sesquicentennial Time Capsule was lowered into the floor in the basement of the library. The metallic, missile-like capsule was wheeled in on a cart while dramatic sci-fi music blasted, earning laughter from the audience. Inside were items to remember the College’s Sesquicentennial year: newspapers, essays, Sesquicentennial memorabilia and even a DVD player – since they’ll probably be rendered obsolete in 50 years – to watch a DVD of the College’s lacrosse team.
The items were chosen from the submissions because they captured the “essence and spirit of our world, most especially our campus,” Robert Gladstone, chair of the Sesquicentennial Committee, said.
Norma Blake, New Jersey state librarian, said the opening of the New Library is significant because prospective students can “judge a college by its library.”
A dedication plaque, which listed administration at the time of completion and principal builders of the library, was unveiled in the main lobby by Pat Bearer, head of reference, and Debbie Bailey, circulation supervisor and technical library assistant. Bailey and Bearer are the College’s most senior librarians, having a combined total of almost 65 years of service to the school.
A commemorative stained-glass window was also revealed in the basement of the library. It is a close reproduction of a window found in the library that was in use at the turn of the century, before the Roscoe West Library was even built.
College President R. Barbara Gitenstein, calling the New Library “the newest and most glorious jewel” of the College’s campus, said the library was built with hopes that it would become “not just a place for books, but for people.”