CALDWELL, NJ — Hundreds of community members enjoyed the grand re-opening of the Caldwell Public Library's Children’s Room on Saturday with a commemorative ribbon cutting, story time with Caldwell Mayor John Kelley and Councilwoman Christine Schmidt, an appearance by Pete the Cat and more. 

In August 2018, the entire lower level of the Caldwell library was flooded, which destroyed thousands of books, computer equipment, furniture and supplies. Through its “Reimagine and Rebuild” campaign, the Caldwell Public Library Foundation raised $25,000 toward the renovation project. A plaque listing the donors to this campaign was revealed at Saturday's event.

Caldwell youths Lilliana and Gabriel Turco and Jack Burgoyne sat on the colorful play rug and played with the new toys provided by the library. Larissa Burgoyne, Jack's mother, said that this was their first mommy-and-me reading activity at the library and that she looks forward to having the children's room open again for her family to enjoy for years to come. 

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In addition to Kelley and Schmidt's reading of "A book With No Pictures" and "Dragons Love Tacos," various kid-friendly activities were held from from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., including pony rides and a petting zoo from Jack's Traveling Petting Farm, crafts and games, free ice cream provided by Gelotti of Caldwell and a surprise appearance from Pete the Cat. 

In memory of Cathy McHugh and Tom Gartland, three mixed-media pieces by American Impressionist and Caldwell resident Lisa Palombo were donated to the library and permanently displayed in the Children’s Room. Also, located behind the library is a new book drop donated by the Caldwell Merchants Association.

Youth Services Librarian Kristen Churchill, who helped plan the reopening of the library said that she was thrilled with the turnout and looks forward to utilizing the childrens room for the many upcoming events. 

Some upcoming events include the launch of this year's Summer Reading Program theme, "A Universe of Stories." Click HERE to read about a special performance from Turtle Dance Music to be held at the Caldwell library on July 12.