For Somerset Village and Somerset Public Library, the grand opening of the Extended Library on Thursday, September 16 was the fulfillment of a long-awaited vision.
“The Library Board is delighted to finally welcome the Somerset community to the expanded and recently refurbished library,” said Kay Walsh, Chair of the Somerset Library Board in her welcoming speech. “The Project building was completed in September 2020, but we were unable to fully open until June of this year.
Walsh, who served on the library’s board of trustees for four decades, began advocating for library expansion in 2016 when it was clear the 3,500-square-foot library could not meet demand for library services linked to the growing population of Somerset. and the surrounding area.
Somerset Library’s designs and hopes finally came true on September 16, when members of the public walked through the renovated rooms and 9,040 new additions. The Somerset Chamber conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony outside the entrance doors to the library. Walsh had the honor of using oversized scissors to cut the red ribbon.
The new library features two private study rooms, six public computer stations, a quiet reading room with fireplace, large group meeting spaces with after-hours access, a large children’s area connected to a green space exterior, a space for young adults and a new History Room dedicated to the preservation of Somerset’s history. All 12,540 square feet are ADA compliant.
“I like to see everyone in the community participate because it was really a community project.” said Kristina Kelley-Johnson, the new director of the Somerset Library. âIt’s a dedicated group. The board of directors, volunteers and staff helped the project overcome many obstacles, including the search for a new library director in the spring of 2020, delays related to the pandemic and construction issues. “
During construction, an old house foundation was discovered which required additional preparation before construction began. There were four change orders during the construction process for modifications to improve sidewalks, washrooms and driveways for wheelchair access. The furniture was also more expensive than expected.
Open: 9 am-6pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 9 am-7pm Tuesday, Thursday; 9 am-1pm Saturday
More information: somersetlibrary.org
Donations: mailed to 208 Hud St., Somerset, WI 54025.
The total cost of the project was $ 3.2 million and with just over $ 1 million still owed to the village in 2024. The library is working to secure funds from individuals and foundations to reach the goal. Community members contributed the majority funds for the construction project. Other benefactors are the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, the Otto Bremer Foundation, the RCU Foundation, SMC Ltd., the FNC Bank, the City of Somerset and the Friends of Somerset Public Library .
âMy favorite part about this new building is that it was designed to accommodate everyone,â said Kelley-Johnson. “No matter who they are, where they came from or how they got here, it is my great honor to serve everyone at the new Somerset Public Library.”