Day by Day: Thanks to those who made it happen—our new Lakefront LibraryThe opening of the new Hudson library just goes to show ya’ — just when you think nothing ever happens in this town — something does, something really good.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
The opening of the new Hudson library just goes to show ya’ — just when you think nothing ever happens in this town — something does, something really good.
I love our new library. Situated along the St. Croix River and Lakefront Park and right next door to The Phipps Center for the Arts, it kind of makes that end of First Street our very own “cultural corridor.” The space at 700 Vine St. is perfect — full of natural light, huge windows, high ceilings and lots and lots of space. Not only are the shelves spaced so that you don’t feel like you could be buried in books, but there are places to sit and read and not feel like your mother might come around the corner and yell at you to get out from under foot.
There are places to meet and study quietly, a bright new story room and children’s library and finally some room for the staff to do their work and maybe even eat their lunch in peace.
There are lots of people who deserve credit for making our new library happen. Having mentioned the staff, I will start there. These folks have worked for years in less than ideal conditions but have managed to keep things running smoothly as circulation has gone up and the space to operate has become more crowded. I’m thinking they may have to wear bells around their necks for a couple of weeks in order to ensure they aren’t lost in the new place but who could blame them if they did. They deserve to take some time to soak up their new surroundings. Never in the forefront of negotiations to get the new building, they have played an important role behind the scenes, encouraged us discouraged patrons who feared it would never happen and always met whatever challenges there were with smiles and a sense of humor.
We all owe a debt of thanks to former Library Board president Jim O’Connor who led the way to creating the Hudson Area Joint Library that has ensured more equitable funding for the library and the residents who use it and who always envisioned a facility like the one we now have. He was ably aided by library board members and his work will continue under the enthusiastic and dedicated leadership of Roy Sjoberg.
Hats off as well to the Hudson Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library and the other community members who worked on the referendums. Regardless of what happened, they worked hard to make sure we didn’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime when it came to the building at First and Vine. People like Susie Gilbert, Bye Barsness, Holly Grubb, Jeff Zais, Tricia Christenson and Brenda Bredahl along with others went above and beyond to make sure that the community had its say, whatever it was. The first referendum made it clear people cared; the second was a disappointment, but thankfully, the idea of a new library in this perfect stop didn’t go away.
The foundation should also be commended for searching out private financial support for the project that will hopefully be there again when the time comes for the library to purchase the building from City of Hudson. These people are truly part of the foundation that continues to keep good things happening in Hudson.
And special kudos to Mayor Dean Knudson and the Hudson City Council who found a way to make this new library happen as well as find a much needed new home for the Hudson Police Department. It is good government at work and a very creative example of finding more than one way to skin a cat. (Someday I’m going to find out where that horrible analogy came from.)
I am about to head down to the new library to be there when the doors open and first patrons come in to check it out. It is a great day in Hudson and I believe Mr. Carnegie would be pleased to see what we have done. I have a fine due but that’s OK. It always has been and will continue to be money well spent.