• Paula Krapf

"We are embarking on something really special:" Groundbreaking ceremony remarks from Libra

Library Director Christine Lazaris at groundbreaking for the new Geneva Public Library at 227 S. Seventh St., July 27, 2018

Good afternoon and welcome! I’m Christine Lazaris, your Library Director. We’re thrilled to be here with you today, surrounded by our friends, neighbors, supporters, and fellow community members, and we’re so glad to have you join in our excitement, as together, we break ground for the construction of a new library.

As I stand here, humbled and grateful, I can’t help but think of our forefathers and mothers and the excitement they must have felt when building the very first library in Geneva. Times have changed since our library first opened in 1908—we have everything from cars to planes to television to the Internet, and not only that but the Cubs even won a World Series. Yet, I believe that what has remained constant throughout our long history, is the commitment of you, our community, to provide a community hub that connects people, as our mission statement says, to discover, inspire, and grow.

When our forefathers came together many years ago to plan and provide for a public library, the printed book was the latest and greatest technology for communicating, sharing, and preserving information. One hundred and ten years later it still remains one of the greatest forms of communication and sources of learning possible.

However, as we all know, today we can easily and quickly access and store information via computers and our phones. Just last week Alderman Mike Bruno shared on social media a very informative and thoughtful post he wrote about 5G technology that is coming our way. He stated “We don’t yet know what technology will eventually be delivered with 5G, but it is sure to be transformative.”

Mike’s post resonated with me. The idea that you plan for and invest in something and yet don’t even know where it will take you. We will break ground today, construction of a new facility will begin, and yet only time will tell where we will go. We are embarking on something really special. Something more special than we can even dream of or plan for. Something that is sure to be transformative.

You’re all library users and you know that a library is so much more than a home for books. It is, as Andrew Carnegie, said “the people’s university.” A place where everyone can learn and a place where everyone has equal access to information.

Our Library is not transactional, it is transformative. Books take us on a journey, audiobooks turn commutes into adventures, tinkering fosters creativity, access equals opportunity, education empowers, and learning never ends. So yes, libraries transform, and how thrilling it is to start a new chapter in our history together.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of Geneva Public Library I thank you for your support.

  • Thank you for believing in the value of our Library.

  • Thank you for bringing your babies to the Library and being their first teachers.

  • Thank you for encouraging your children to be active learners all year round. Right now we have more than 2,000 children participating in our summer challenge.

  • Thank you for allowing your teens to use our facility as a safe space to hang with their friends, work on school projects, and foster their independence.

  • Thank you for trusting us to make reading recommendations for you, to help you with your research needs, and teach you how to use new technology.

  • Thank you for valuing and helping us promote literacy for all, including early literacy, digital literacy, and civic literacy.

  • Thank you for investing in lifelong learning and being with us at every age and stage of life. Last year you visited the Library more than 272,000 times.

  • Thank you for being a part of the Geneva Public Library District and making it a special place where something new and exciting awaits you every day.

This is your library and this is your day. So, let’s get building and keep transforming. No shushing today, let’s hear it for Geneva Public Library! And let’s hear it for all of you who made this day and every day at the Library possible! Thank you.

Library Board President Bob Shiffler and Library Director Christine Lazaris at the new library groundbreaking ceremony July 27, 2018.



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