Crews move Olson Memorial Library to temporary locationSubmitted: 10/08/2015
EAGLE RIVER - As shelves, books and DVDs all disappear, Olson Memorial Library Director Nan Andrews finds herself in a strange place.

"It's very odd to see people come up and have to walk away," Andrews said.

Andrews is used to welcoming people to the Olson Memorial Library. But this week, the library is closed and on the move.

"Really, a very nice, remarkable building and structurally, architecturally a very beautiful place," Andrews said.  "But we've outgrown it."

The library was finished in 1979. Its approximately 8,000 square feet were plenty of space 36 years ago. But now there's a need for conference rooms, digital media labs and better furnishings.

Soon after the library is cleared out, a $2.8 million renovation and expansion project will double the library's space.

"Libraries are much more than books," Andrews said.  "Libraries are a center for the community."

Workers spent the week moving the more than 12,000 volumes from the library onto a truck and across town.

"What we needed to do was find a facility," library trustee Joe Eisele said.  "You might think, Oh, there ought to be a lot of place to take a library. Well guess what? There aren't."

Eisele worried the library wouldn't have a place to go during renovations. But, Ministry Medical Group offered an old building kitty-corner to its Eagle River hospital for free.

"At least a year and longer if we need it," Eisele said of the temporary digs.  "Ministry Health Eagle River Memorial Hospital, we're greatly indebted to them."

Eisele says the community support doesn't stop there. Every penny for the renovations came from fundraising or grants, which meant Eagle River didn't need to raise taxes.

"It's all these people that are donating to it that are going to be owners of this exciting project," Eisele said.

For now, those owners will need to travel a mile across town.  But in a year's time, Andrews promises a great replacement.

"This is a library for our community because they wanted it, they put out the money for it and we're going to make it happen for them," Andrews said.

The temporary library opens Monday, October 12.  It's located at 150 E. Hospital Road in Eagle River.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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