Groton on the Inside: Library expansion almost in reach


By Linda Competillo

Tompkins Weekly


From its first public meeting in January of 2017 to the present, plans to expand the Groton Public Library are now in full swing – due in great part to the pending $700,000 in state funding proposed by Senator James Seward and Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, which was announced exactly one month ago when they made a special visit to the GPL. The full story on that event may be found in the Aug. 13 edition of this column.

Once this funding is realized, along with $125,000 from the GPL reserve funds, and $90,000 raised to date by the Friends of the GPL, the approximate shortfall yet to be raised is $60,000. Time is of the essence, as an anonymous donor has offered a challenge grant of $30,000 to match all donations received or pledged by Sept. 30. Those wishing to contribute may do so by sending a check payable to Friends of the GPL, 112 E. Cortland St, Groton, NY 13073, through PayPal at, or by calling the library at (607) 898-5055.

Groton resident and president emeritus of Tompkins Cortland Community College, Carl Haynes, is the chair of the campaign committee. “As a life-long educator, I have always valued the vital role local public libraries provide to people in their communities. Our award-winning Groton Public Library offers programs and services for literally every age group,” said Haynes.

Haynes also adds “On any given day when you visit our library you can feel the vibrancy of learning, information gathering, and the pure joy of people accessing their favorite books or authors. It is heartfelt pride in all that our Groton Public Library provides to our citizens that inspires me to support this much-needed expansion for the benefit of all and for the generations who will follow.”

The need for the planned 2,000 square foot expansion has developed due to increased attendance at the many and varied program offerings just over the past three years. Our library is truly a hub of activity in our community, and attendance has escalated from 1,898 in 2015 to 3,119 in 2017, resulting in a 64 percent increase. At that rate, it is certainly no wonder that more space is needed.

GPL director, Sara Knobel, said that the youth programming alone has grown to the point where some children have had to be turned away due to lack of room. The expansion will connect to the main building and include a large and flexible space to accommodate the growing need for children’s, youth, and teen programs, as well as author visits, nutritional and meal planning programs, and more. It will also allow the front of the existing library space to return to a quiet reading area for those who have been missing that of late.

The GPL Board of Trustees is hopeful that all funding and a plethora of various approvals will be in place to enable construction to be underway by the summer of 2019. In the meantime, be sure to visit this column weekly, as I will do my best to keep the updates coming as I become aware of them, as well as a bit of GPL history in the mix.

Fall quilt retreat

Many may remember the “Sew Beautifully Creative” shop that used to be located on Cayuga St. in Groton until its owner, Debi Radcliffe, essentially moved it to North Carolina when she moved there almost two years ago.

Radcliffe will be returning to the area for a visit this fall and will hold a quilt retreat Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6. from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Metzgar’s, 470 Locke Road, Groton. Participants may choose to attend just one or both days.

These are “sleep in your own bed” retreats; come and quilt from 9 to 7, and leave your machine and supplies set up if you are doing both retreat days so you’re all set to go the next day. Many fun activities are scheduled for each day, so plan for quality time with other quilting friends.

The cost is $95 for one day. If you choose both days, the total price will be $180. Everyone receives free gifts and projects with supplies. Ask a friend to sign up with you and you will receive an additional gift worth at least $25 when they confirm with their payment and mention your name.

Brunch and dinner foods prepared by Chef Mitch, all day snacks and beverages, free gifts and supplies for several projects, tutorials and tips on new ideas, hands-on projects, and lots of fun and friends are included in the cost of the retreat.

Participants may make up to three layaway payments thru PayPal (total additional $5 fee) or layaway payments with up to three separate check payments with no additional fee. If either layaway option is chosen, please note that you must contact Radcliffe ahead of time by texting or calling her at (607) 351-5873.


Steak’s on in McLean

The McLean Community Church’s famous steak dinner will be coming off the grill at 50 Church St. from 4 p.m. until the food is gone on Saturday, Sept. 8. Take-out orders are also an option.

This fabulous $15 meal includes ribeye steak, baked potato, vegetable medley, tossed salad, rolls, beverages, and homemade pie. Reservations are highly recommended by calling 607-838-3450. Personally, I would need a really solid reason to ever miss this dinner – it’s that amazing!

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit items to Linda Competillo at or (607) 227-4922


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