CAIRO — Roddenbery Memorial Library celebrated its grand reopening Thursday with an open house event that featured a farewell to a former director and the unveiling of a new reptilian resident.
Though the library has been open to the public since its soft reopening in April, Tom Lehman, chairman of the library's board of trustees, said Thursday's event provided visitors with a better opportunity to explore the newly revamped interior.
"We hope you get a chance to walk around and see what we've done here in the last 18 months," Lehman said.
Alongside the reopening event was a reception for the library's recently retired director, Pamela Grigg, who stepped down in May to spend more time with her family.
"There's lots and lots of talent on the team," said Grigg, who served as director for eight years. "I think the library's in great hands."
Grigg, who plans to spend time with her grandson and possibly move to New England to stay closer to her family, said the library has a capable steward in acting director Janet Boudet.
"Janet knows more than a lot of people about the library, having worked here almost 30 years," Grigg said. "Janet knows all the secrets."
Working alongside Boudet for eight years was a fun experience, Grigg said, and the two shared more than a few laughs along the way.
"You have to really enjoy every day, or what's the point," Grigg said.
As a parting gift to the former director, the board of trustees and library staff provided Grigg with reading-themed garden statue and a gift card for purchasing new plants.
The green-thumbed Grigg said she and her fellow garden enthusiast husband planned to enjoy the gift.
"One of the biggest joys about working here has been enjoying this amazing garden that we have, and I hope everyone will enjoy it for years to come," Grigg said.
The former library director wasn't the only individual saying goodbye Thursday.
Lehman said he plans to step down from the board of trustees after 20 years of being involved with the library.
"I suspect the community will be better off with my retirement and not so well off with (Grigg's)," he joked.
One of the event's attendees wasn't human at all, and children's coordinator Patsy Pallone said he was in fact not a guest, but a resident.
A male bearded dragon was unveiled as the newest inhabitant of the library's children's wing, and his name will be selected following a vote by secret ballot.
Suggested names include Mushu, Spike, Copper and Elliot.
Pallone purchased a custom-built 120-gallon habitat for the lizard, who has been nicknamed "Beastie" as he waits to receive his permanent name.
Excitement was built for Thursday's unveiling as children were encouraged to guess what kind of creature the habitat could eventually contain.
The library had been closed for more than a year as it underwent extensive renovations that totaled $2.4 million.
Much of the work done to the library is not visible to the average visitor, such as the installation of new wiring, insulation and heating and cooling systems and the replacement of the old roof.
Lehman said that was exactly the idea.
"We trust that what we did would be the type of renovation or improvement that would decrease the expense of this building over a period of time," he said.
Before departing, Lehman took the opportunity to thank the architects and work crews who were behind the renovations, which took place over the course of 15 months.
"These are the guys that if it falls down we've got to go see," Lehman joked.