Cathy Osten


Cathy Osten



November 1, 2016

Saxton B. Little Library Reopens Following Renovation

Osten joins community for ribbon cutting on state supported library renovation

photo of Senator Osten

Senator Cathy Osten joins local residents Emerson Ortiz and his grandmother Judy Ortiz in the new program room at the Saxton B. Little Library in Columbia, which re-opened Nov. 1, 2016 following extensive state and town funded renovations.

Columbia, CT—State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) recently joined State Librarian Kendall F. Wiggin, members of the Saxton B. Little Free Public Library Board and staff, and members of the community for a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand-reopening of the newly renovated facility. The facility reopened on Nov. 1, 2016, after being closed to the public for more than a year.

Senator Osten advocated for the authorization and release of a nearly $600,000 State Library Construction Grant to Columbia to complete the project.

“It is wonderful to see the improvements that have been made to the Saxton B. Little Free Public Library, which is a valuable component of Columbia’s community for residents of all ages,” said Sen. Osten. “For decades, this library had not seen significant renovations and it was wonderful to be with members of our community and the library’s board and staff to celebrate the reopening of the facility and see the results of the state’s investment—which are phenomenal. I’m thankful to all who played a role in making this a beautiful, safe and inviting space where people can gather and learn.”

The renovations were accomplished through a combination of state and local funding, and include improvements to the HVAC system, safety improvements and general repairs. The upgrades also include a new program room, renovated children’s area and increased space for patrons. Prior to the re-opening of the library, staff had been operating out of the town’s municipal building, while most of the collection was kept in storage.

“I am delighted and glad this day is here. We have been waiting for this day for over a year. The staff and the town have worked hard to bring about the renovation of the library,” said Hank Stockmal, President of the Saxton B. Little Library Board of Directors. “This is a project from which the entire community will benefit. We were happy to service the community at the ‘Mini-B’ but we are happier that we can offer full services now.”

Vice-President of the Saxton B. Little Board of Directors Erin O’Neil-Baker, who has been on the Board for more than three years, said she was extremely excited that the doors to the library have reopened after more than two months.

“The place looks great. The children’s area will make children feel like they are in a magical reading forest. There are several cozy seating areas that take advantage of window sunlight and there is a beautiful new circulation desk to make checking-out books quicker and easier,” said O’Neil-Baker. “For more than a year, the library operated out of the small purple town building across the street from the library and most of the collection was in storage. We are so glad that the books, DVDs, music, magazines and resource material are now free again and on the shelves. I think that the Columbia community will enjoy the new spaces and renovation as a whole. Hopefully, this renovation will encourage the love of books and libraries which motivated me to join the Board in the first place.”

With the re-opening of the Saxton B. Little Library, regular hours have resumed and community members are encouraged to visit the improved space and take advantage of the library’s services.