Billings News

Feb 2, 2014 3:58 PM by Dustin Klemann - MTN News

Billings Public Library dedicated weeks after 'soft' open

BILLINGS - Several weeks have passed since the new Billings Public Library opened its doors and since then then, thousands have walked through to marvel and utilize the nearly $20 million project.

The library was dedicated to the city of Billings on Saturday. Mayor Tom Hanel, County Commission Chair Jim Reno, Library Board Chair Shari Nault, Library Director Bill Cochran, and Design Architect Will Bruder all spoke on the process that began years ago.

The first public library built in Billings by the community in more than a century was sparked by a $2 million donation by an anonymous donor. From there, the library foundation and its leaders worked to raise another $3 million before the bond initiative went to the voters.

"It took a community to build this building," Bill Cochran said in front of hundreds of onlookers, "Pat yourselves on the back, Billings, and enjoy the day and enjoy your new library for decades to come."

Both Mayor Hanel and Commission Chair Reno praised the efforts of the city and staff for paving the way of a new state-of-the-art building to welcome all newcomers to the Magic City.

Will Bruder, the design architect for the building, emphasized the importance of light and colors built into the new building and was pleased with how the vision worked out.

Following the speeches and dedication, visitors enjoy the musical program from the girls honor choirs in the Heights and West End, and the boys honor choirs, plus violin students.

At each spot in the building, there was no down time. People order coffees from the shop, books and movies were still being checked out, necks craned back to notice the size of the building and all of its new shine.

Since the doors have opened, one-third of total library cards issued last year had already been signed up.

The new library offers an opportunity for anyone to write a 500-word max letter to be placed into a time capsule. The capsule will be suspended underneath the elliptical dome in the next few months.

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