Pelham kicking off fundraising for new library

    The Taste of Pelham event on Oct. 8 will help raise money for a new Pelham Public Library. (File)

The Taste of Pelham event on Oct. 8 will help raise money for a new Pelham Public Library. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Library Guild will take the “first baby step” toward working to build a new Pelham Public Library building on Oct. 8, as the guild hosts the inaugural “Taste of Pelham” event.

The event will feature more than 25 vendors ranging from caterers to local restaurants showcasing their best culinary offerings, said Library Guild member and Pelham Councilman Maurice Mercer.

“This will give (attendees) a chance to try something they may not have ventured out to try,” Mercer said. “And it will give restaurants a chance to showcase their best dishes.

The event will be from 6-8 p.m., and tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Advance tickets are available from any Library Guild member, at the Pelham Public Library, at Iberia Bank on U.S. 31 in Pelham and at Pelhamlibraryguild.com.

All proceeds will benefit the guild’s library building fund, which will help the guild one day construct a new, more efficient public library, said Library Director Barbara Roberts.

“We are out of space, there is not enough parking, it’s an inefficient arrangement with two floors,” Roberts said of the current Pelham Public Library, which is adjacent to Pelham City Hall. “A new library could address all those needs.

“This is the first baby step we are taking toward this enormous endeavor,” Roberts added. “This is going to be a long process encompassing several years. I certainly think the Pelham community has the assets and enthusiasm to make this happen.”

Roberts said she and the Library Guild have not yet determined a location for the new library, but said there are multiple options.

“There is not a specific location that has been determined. The city owns some parcels of land, and all of them are being discussed,” Roberts said. “A final determination has not yet been made.”

A new library could better serve the community by integrating more technological offerings, open areas to congregate and resources for local businesses.

“Now, it’s almost impossible to apply for a job except online,” Roberts said. “If you don’t’ have access to a computer, you are effectively cut off from a large section of life that we all take for granted.”

“We’ve talked about building a new library for some time now,” Mercer said. “It’s time for where the rubber meets the road.”