ROCKPORT – Speeches were made, ribbons were cut and the crowd cheered Saturday to celebrate the new Rockport Public Library.

The library had a bit of a “soft launch” opening during the pandemic lockdown months, but this was the chance for members of the community to properly commemorate its official opening.

Town Manager Jonathon Duke offered a few words of welcome to the group and provided some history.

Town Manager Jon Duke speaks at the library celebration. Photo by Jim Dugan

He noted the gift of the property from Mary Louise Curtis Bok in 1943 and the former building which served the town for nearly seventy years.

“Growing up in this neighborhood, the library was an integral part of our daily lives. The Town’s long serving librarian, Marjorie Dodge, was a neighbor as well, and she looked after all of us,” Duke said. “…Inside that old library a whole world awaited.”

“The Rockport Public Library in the 1980s may have leaned a bit more on the Dewey Decimal system, microfiche and periodicals than our modern building with the latest technologies and software,” he said. “But most of all a common thread runs through both buildings… community.”

He took time to thank the Rockport Library Foundation, the Friends of Rockport Library, the volunteers, the donors and residents of Rockport for making the celebration possible.

“This place is AWESOME! I’m so lucky to get to work in this wonderful building in the best community,” said Library Director Ben Blackmon.

Numerous people were thanked for the volunteer effort that it took to get the library constructed and opened. Speakers included Helen Shaw of the Library Committee, Rockport Library Foundation Chair Joan Welsh and Denise Munger of the Select Board.

Among those thanked were former Town Manager Rick Bates; Bettina Doulton and Charlie Frattini of Phi Builders & Architects; Steve Smith, the project architect; and the Rockport Library Foundation.

The Foundation, made up entirely of volunteers, raised more than $2.3 million for the library and furnishings.

The 450-plus donors are listed on the wall inside the library.