The process of preparing for it all began many weeks before.

However, the reality of the start of construction for the 9,706-square-foot renovation and expansion of Sherman Library hit home Oct. 5.

That's the day the ceremonial ground-breaking was held (see photos).

Equipment was to arrive shortly thereafter to begin heavy work.

Even before that, library director Millie Loeb, her staff and volunteers had been busy gearing up for the move a few hundred yards east along routes 37 and 39 to Sherman School.

Library services will continue there and the present computers are available.

Children and adult programs will continue at other locations, but the after-school program is suspended.

The library operates during this time in an area of the school accessed by a back entrance.

Construction is projected to last 12 to 14 months, depending on weather.

"This is not just an expansion of the library," said Karen Cushnie, Board of Trustees president, recently. "It includes a restoration of the original library, and the barn interior will be remodeled while the outside is restored."

The budget for the project, including soft costs and a 15 percent contingency required by the town, is $3.6 million, Mrs. Cushnie said.

As the Sherman Library prepares for its future, a founding heritage is being revived, Mrs. Loeb said.

By pledging $2,100 over five years, or $420 annually, toward the capital campaign, a donor could become a 21st Century Delver and will be recognized on a plaque in the reopened library.

The name comes from the reading group called the Delvers, founded in 1901 by Ruth Rogers. That group raised the money for the original Sherman Library.

From May through June, about $130,000 was received in pledges and donations. Donations are still being sought.

As she begins the transition period during construction, Mrs. Loeb is philosophical and optimistic.

"Ground-breaking is a grueling process," she said, "so many things to get done. But it has been going smoothly and it's very exciting."

Photography by Norm Cummings