The completion and opening of a new library in Holmen is the beginning of a chapter in the village’s chronicle of providing library services to the community.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Holmen Public Library was Monday with dignitaries from the county library system, the county administration and the Holmen School District joining village representatives and community members to mark the historic event.
The library, located at the west end of Legion Street just south of Halfway Creek Park, is three times larger than the old library building on State Street. Along with Halfway Creek Park and the new Holmen Police Station, the new library is considered another jewel in the revitalized creek-front land that was the former site of the Holmen Canning Co.
In opening remarks, Holmen Village Administrator Scott Heinig recalled growing up in Holmen and visiting the library when it was house in an office in the village hall. He related how he checked out a record from the library playing it often and memorized the songs. He now sings those songs to his toddler son.
“That record’s impact touched my life forever,” Heinig said. “It means so much to me that we are opening this beautiful new library for the Holmen community.”
The La Crosse County Library System partners with municipalities that provide a building by stocking libraries with books, videos, audio recordings and other materials.
LCCL Director Chris McArdle Rojo congratulated the community.
“It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child,” McArdle Rojo said, “but it can also be said it takes a village to build a library.”
The library has sections for youth, teen and adult materials as well as a large gathering space for programming that can be divided into two smaller meeting rooms. The building also provides offices for county library system staff.
Steve Johnston, Holmen Village Board representative on the La Crosse County Library Board, relates a conversation he had with a Evergreen Elementary School second-grader who attended the ribbon-cutting and toured the building.
Johnston asked the youngster what part of the library he liked best. “He said he liked the room with the cookies best,” Johnston said.
Serving on the county library board for a year and a half, Johnston was grateful for the support the county gave to the project by getting the word out about the need for the building. He is impressed with it and believes the community’s support confirms that libraries are important.
“Everything about this library has surpassed my expectations,” Johnston said. “It’s more than the books; it’s a place where the community can come together.”
The total cost of the library was estimated at $4.58 million. Olympic Builders General Contractors Inc. submitted the low bid of $3.99 million to win the contract to build the facility. The additional costs will cover furnishings as well as equipment and supplies.
The village budgeted $3.5 million for construction with the remaining $1 million to be financed through public donations.
Among those supporting the project were young adult representatives from the School District of Holmen’s Project LIVE (Lifelong Independence and Vocational Education) program. The group of young adults from the program donated $1,000 to the library fund last year.
Nick Slusser, SDH staff member with the Project LIVE program, believes libraries help define a community.
“When you go to a community with a library, it’s a thriving community,” Slusser said.
Other community donors will be recognized with plaques displayed on a donors’ wall.