Oberon Matters
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It's the library's birthday

July 4, 2024

It's been a year since the opening of Oberon's new Library and Community Centre, so it's probably a good time to look back at what happened during the lead up to the opening. There was some opposition to the replacement for the old library but nobody seems to complain these days and the cost has been forgotten. (One person opposed it because he saw libraries as a waste of ratepayers' money!) And nobody calls it "The Hub" any more.

It all started in July 2022 with ground breaking and a smoking ceremony conducted by Wiradjuri man Adrian Williams. As Adrian said, "The single word that describes Wiradjuri philosophy is 'Respect', and the mutual respect between the Wiradjuri people and Oberon's citizens shows the importance of friendship and cooperation".

Adrian presented Oberon Mayor Mark Kellam with a coolamon, celebrating the "birth" of the new building.

After the plants were removed for storage by Gary Moran from Plateau Garden Landscapes (many of the plants were reestablished around the finished building) it was time to bring in the heavy equipment.

No more library or dentist's surgery. Now to rip up the slabs.

Fast forward to January 2023 when work had started. The walls were going up and the roof was on its way.

"Once the roof is in place, expect to see quick progress on the walls," said Barpa Site Manager Nigel Perger. "It's hard to visualise a building from the plans but once the walls go in everything becomes obvious."

The skeleton, with Nigel Perger looking satisfied with the work so far.

By April the roof was on and a lot of the walls were in place. One problem that delayed construction was a supply chain issue - the windows could not be delivered. There is only so much that can be done in fitting out a building when you can't keep the weather out, but the windows finally arrived and work progressed.

Barpa Site Manager Nigel Perger was philosophical. "Like everyone else trying to build something, we had supply chain problems," he said. "Not having the windows has set us back a bit, but now they are here work can proceed quickly on the internal jobs."

State Member Paul Toole was another person pleased to see that real progress was being made. "I was pleased to be able to arrange some of the grants that have made this building possible," he said. "I look forward to visiting when it's finished and I know the people of Oberon will have a real and useful asset for the future."

It's all happening, with Mayor Mark Kellam joining Paul Toole MP and Nigel Perger to inspect progress.

It was the end of June and the Library was moving from its temporary location in the St Barnabas's church hall.

Anyone who has ever moved house or relocated an office knows that there are four stages of the move. The first is packing everything up with the satisfaction of seeing all those neatly labelled boxes. The second is the move of the boxes to the new location with the hope that they all get there.

The third stage is unpacking and making sure that the removalists didn't lose or break anything.

The fourth stage is chaos and panic as you put everything where it is supposed to go, find out where things don't fit, wonder what to do with all those empty packing boxes and hope that it can all be done by the time it has to be finished.

The library staff got busy and got it done.

Ready to go.

And finally the big day arrived. It was July 4 and the town turned out in strength to see the new building. Adrian Williams did his duties again with a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country, and the building was officially opened by Mayor Mark Kellam and Paul Toole MP. The Mayor acknowledged the work of the previous Mayor, Kathy Sajowitz, without whose push and enthusiasm the library might not have been built.

The big day.

And people were using the facilities from the time the doors opened.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole acknowledged the anniversary.

"Time flies and it's already been a year since I joined with Oberon Council and the community to officially open the Oberon Library and Community Centre," he said.

"Libraries are an important cog in the social fabric that makes up our regional towns and gives residents a place to go, to meet and to spend time learning or exploring interests.

"I look forward to the Oberon Library and Community Centre continuing to go from strength to strength and am proud to have helped deliver such an important project to the Bathurst Electorate."

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