$500K gift to help Cafe Commons area in new library


MANCHESTER -- The Manchester Community Library has a new supporter -- The Vermont Country Store.

A combined $500,000 donation from Lyman Orton, Janice Izzi, Eliot Orton and The Vermont Country Store will be used to help support the Cafe Commons area of the library.

The Cafe Commons area is envisioned as a place for the library’s patrons to obtain coffee and light beverages, along with tables for informal meetings and socializing. Patrons will be able to connect online to check emails and messages, search the Web, or meet up with friends, family members or business colleagues, according to a press statement released Monday announcing the financial contribution by the Ortons.

Lyman Orton said the public should not think of the library solely as a "traditional" library but rather a place of activity.

"Think of it as the commons, a gathering place for the community, weddings, event," he said. "Think of it as a place where you can meet somebody and can get a cup of coffee, [or] go and do what you do in a traditional library, [like] get information or find quiet places to read. It’s all about people connecting. We’re really, really happy to support this [the library] and to make it happen."

Orton said they wanted to support the library because it is a new center of town and is doing wonderful work in the community.

Orton said it was the library board’s suggestion that their donation be used to support the Cafe Commons and they agreed wholeheartedly.

"Lyman, Janice, and Eliot have been involved since the planning stages of the new Library," Christine Miles, chairwoman of the library’s capital campaign, stated in Monday’s announcement about the Orton’s donation.

"Their collective vision has been invaluable, as is the support from the Vermont Country Store in recognizing how the community benefits from a first rate 21st-century library. The Commons and the entire Library will act as the crossroads of our community -- it will be the center of information, education, cultural experience, and the place where people of all ages connect. We are so pleased to have both the Orton family and The Vermont Country Store as partners in this important project for our community."

Orton said they made their donation with the idea that this is not your father’s library. The addition of the cafe, as well as other spaces that bring people together, made them very supportive of the project.

The new library, which is under construction at its new location on Cemetery Avenue, anticipates opening its doors this autumn.

Meanwhile, fundraising is continuing for the construction of the building.

In the announcement released Monday, Eliot Orton encouraged others in participate in the capital campaign.

"People are aware that our new Library is taking the best of the traditional library model and blending it with the needs of 21st century patrons. We urge everyone, both individuals and businesses in our community, to join us in contributing to the new Library."


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