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A by-the-book opening in Brodhead
Times photos: Brenda Steurer Darlyne Dillon, left, and Lisa Schumacher, put childrens books on shelves Monday at the new Brodhead Memorial Public Library in preparation for its opening. Order photo
BRODHEAD - Brodhead Memorial Public Library Director Gloria Rosa is proud of the place she's about to call home.

"This is the reading room," she said as she took a visitor into a quiet room with windows that face the east and the south. "When it snows outside, it looks so beautiful from in here."

Rosa can't wait to unveil the city's new library March 10.

"I was beginning to wonder if I was going to see this," she laughed.

She's been library director for 21 years. For the past 10 years, she said, the city has been trying to build a new library to replace the one on West Second Avenue, which has become too small.

The new public library, on the corner of 25th Street and Fifth Avenue, is about 15,000 square feet, almost four times the size of the old library. The new library has two study rooms, an area for local history materials, and a 3,000-square-foot meeting room available to the public whether or not the library is open.

Originally budgeted to cost about $3.8 million, some cuts were made to bring the final cost to about $1.5 million, Rosa said. About 3,000 square feet were cut from the building to reduce construction costs.

Ground was broken for the library in August, and since then the process has moved along rapidly, Rosa said.

"We're about two months ahead of schedule," she said.

The new library will house a collection of more than 44,000 items, for which there will be plenty of room to display to the public.

"In the old building, for every book we added we almost had to get rid of one we had," Rosa said. "We had to store some books in the basement and that wasn't very convenient."

Besides space, another advantage to the new library is location. The library is located near the three schools. Rosa said there were some who objected to moving the library from the center of town, but there wasn't any room downtown to build a library.

"We didn't want to be landlocked," she said. "We have 2.2 acres of land here, and if we want to expand we can build to the north. We wanted to plan for the future."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for March 10 and a grand opening ceremony is planned for May 17. Rosa said the landscaping will be further along in May, and she wants people who have donated shrubs and flowers to be able to enjoy them when the library is formally opened.

Although some books still need to be brought to the new library from the old library, most of the shelves already are filled. The mystery books are back together instead of being separated on two floors, Rosa pointed out.

She looked around and smiled.

"It's finally happening," she said. "The public has been very supportive. It's incredible how well everything has gone."