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The first patrons to cross the threshold into the new Hudson Area Joint Library were from left Anders Beyer, 12, Kyle Krassau, 11, and Ethan Millett, 10. All three boys gave the new facility thumbs up and were eager to explore "all the great space." Photo by Meg Heaton

Library opens to rave reviews

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The Hudson Area Joint Library has a new address, a lot more space and a great view.

There was a small crowd waiting for the door to open at the new facility Tuesday morning. Located at 700 First St., the library now occupies most of the building at the corner of Vine and First streets, just across the street from Lakefront Park and the St. Croix River and right next door to The Phipps Center for the Arts.

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The library leases the space from the City of Hudson who owns the building, and shares the building with the Hudson Police Department. The former library had a little more than 8,100 square feet. It now has 30,000 square feet on two floors. It is flooded with natural light from numerous large windows and has many environmentally friendly features. The first floor includes a spacious atrium, the circulation desk, computer lab and the DVDs and CDs. The second floor, which is accessible via a wide, winding stairwell or by elevator, is home to the children's library, a teen reading room, the periodicals and the adult fiction and non-fiction. There is also a history room, a WiFi area and several study and meeting rooms as well as the Friends of the Library Bookstore. The new library also provides much needed work and office space for library employees.

Librarian Linda Donaldson was all smiles Tuesday as she greeted the first visitors to the new facility. While there a few finishing touches left to be completed and some furniture that has yet to arrive, Donaldson said, "It is wonderful to finally be open. It was a tight budget and a lot of hard work but it was so worth it."

The library's elevator was not in operation on Tuesday pending an inspection expected this week. Anyone needing to use an elevator in the meantime can have access to the elevator in the Hudson Police Department.

North Hudson residents Les and Meredith Berg were waiting for the doors to open with their grandchildren Taylor and Maia Hermanson. "Our daughter called and said that whatever else we did with the children today, we had to be sure we got to the new library. It is very exciting," said Meredith Berg.

Another first-day patron, Ella VanRossum, 3, daughter of Aaron and Sara VanRossum, only took minutes to gather her choices to check out including "Corduroy" and several others.

Library Board president Roy Sjoberg said "We welcome the residents of the four municipalities that support the new joint library and we encourage everyone to come and explore the new facility." A grand opening is being planned for the fall.

Hudson Mayor Dean Knudson, who is credited for putting the deal together that brought the library to its new home, said, "It is exciting to see all the work come to fruition. The library services the whole Hudson area and it is a very big improvement."

Knudson pointed out that in addition to the parking lot at the site, there is also public parking in the beach lot across the street and parking along Vine and First streets. Sjoberg said the library will be monitoring the parking situation over the coming months.

The library hours are Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

For more information call (715)386-3101 or go online at www.hudsonpubliclibrary.org.

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Meg Heaton
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604
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