Cottonwood library receives Bremer grant to help with renovation process

COTTONWOOD – The Cottonwood branch of the Marshall-Lyon County Library is gaining more space and a new look, and a recent grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation will be playing a big part in making it possible.

The city of Cottonwood announced this week that the library has received a $50,000 grant to help with ongoing renovations and expansions at the library.

“We’re excited. It makes a huge difference,” said Marshall-Lyon County Library Director Holly Martin Huffman.

Renovations for the Cottonwood library are something the city of Cottonwood had planned for some time, said Cottonwood Community Development Coordinator Charles Seipel. The building that used to hold the library and the Cottonwood municipal offices was too small for both entities and needed roofing work. In 2010, the city considered building a new municipal and library building, but that idea didn’t come to pass, Seipel said.

When the city offices moved into a different space on Main Street, Seipel said there was an opportunity to make the roof repairs and expand the library.

“We knew we wanted to work with the Otto Bremer Foundation,” he said. Seipel wrote the grant application that was accepted by the foundation.

In addition to the Foundation grant, the Cottonwood library is also making use of funds the Lyon County Board voted to contribute to area libraries in 2010. The Cottonwood, Minneota and Tracy public libraries received about $53,000 each, to be used for building improvements.

In addition to repairing the Cottonwood library’s roof, the city of Cottonwood and the library have also been working with Denise Aamodt to design the library’s new look, Seipel said. The renovations include a higher ceiling and new lighting, new carpet, fresh paint and new shelving. Out front, an awning completes the look.

The library renovation should be a good project all around, city and library officials said.

“The remodel allows the library to stay downtown, and it’s less expensive than building a new library building,” Seipel said.

With the municipal offices no longer in the building, the Cottonwood library location will have much more room for books, reading and work areas, as well as storage space. The renovations may also enhance the library’s connection with the Cottonwood community and Lakeview School.

“An aesthetically pleasing space will generate more interest and afford more educational programming to take place,” said Cottonwood Librarian Char Rekedal.

“It will be an inviting place,” Martin Huffman said.

Cottonwood city officials said they hope the renovations will be completed later this summer.