Elizabeth Taber Library officially opens new entrance

May 27, 2019

MARION — When handling a library entrance redesign project, most Library Board Presidents don’t have to worry about where to find a granite cat. Jay Pateakos, however, did,  for a renovation project on the Elizabeth Taber Library that included new front stairs, a new handicap accessible door, custom benches and garden work. 

On May 27, the library held a grand opening and ribbon cutting event to celebrate the end of the work. 

In his remarks on the project, Pateakos called it a collaboration between the town and library that could have been a lot longer.

Peggy Repass originally thought of the project, and donated many of the funds. . Repass was a librarian in Marion for five years, and enjoyed sharing the library with her children and grandchildren, but found it increasingly difficult to access as she grew older. 

Bob Raymond, introduced by Pateakos as a “volunteer extraordinaire,” was the next to speak He thanked various members of the project team at Dodson and Flinker, the landscape architect who worked on the project. He also thanked the General Contractor, Francisco Tavares, who worked with Seth French and Jonathan Searles. 

Raymond also noted that the project involved “working with sensitive plant material — contractors have enough challenges with bricks and mortar, but living plants all with their specific needs and seasonal schedules, is a whole new level. And all this work done outdoors in quirky and hostile New England weather reserves special credit.” 

Peggy’s son, Randy, also spoke, noting that the project started with an $8,000 automatic door opener, and grew from there. 

“The family is very happy with the way this turned out, and glad it is finally done,” Repass said. He noted that the library project that his now 99-year-old mother started was inspired by a similar design at a library in Camden, Maine. He hopes the new entrance will help patrons to “relax and hopefully be inspired to read.”

Another Repass family member, Sally Christine, explained that Peggy couldn’t be in Marion physically for the ceremony, but was doing well and “calling all the shots, as usual.” 

She recalled Peggy “hiking up those steep steps and heaving open the heavy door.” She also noted that the former librarian loves children’s books, and chose all the titles for the pillars that uphold the bench based on classic books (and presumably also requested a cat, sleeping next to the books). The compass rose outside of the library represents the Repass family’s love of the sea. 

Library Director Elizabeth Sherry also spoke briefly, presenting Randy with a scrapbook of letters of thanks that the library’s younger patrons had made. 

After the remarks and ribbon cutting, attendees admired the work, made video greetings to send to Peggy so she could be there in spirit and in video, and looked at historic artifacts from Elizabeth Taber’s time, generously provided by the Sippican Historical Society. Children also had a chance to make tiles to put in the garden.