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'I can't believe it's been 10 years'
Cupcakes & punch served in celebration of library's first decade
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

February 01. 2013 9:25AM
Patrons of the Brandon Community Library checked out more than just books on Friday.

They also checked out the goodies being served up at a two-hour open house in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the library at its current location, 305 S. Splitrock Blvd.

“The biggest thing everybody’s been saying is they can’t believe it’s been 10 years,” said Brandon librarian Alysia Boysen.

Sue Hegland was one of those who couldn’t believe that 10 years had passed since the library opened. She was a member of the Moms Group, who initially spearheaded the idea.

“I’ve talked with so many people from many different states about what a great collaborative effort this was,” she said. “It’s so cool how this community came together – the school district, the Mom’s group, and the library system – to create a project we could’ve never done ourselves. It’s served the community well for 10 years; it’s been such a great thing.”

In January 2003, the Brandon Community Library opened its doors to the public – including the local high school, which it is attached to – in its new location on the southeast side of Brandon Valley High School.

The library began with a proposal from residents and grew into a $1.2 million reality in little more than a year. Donations came in rapidly when the idea first took off in early May 2001.

The Brandon Community Library received financial assistance from state and federal funds. Then Governor Bill Janklow dedicated $150,000 in state funds to the project, and Senator Tom Daschle arranged for a $299,340 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Other donors also purchased bricks from the Friends of the Library, as well as gave cash donations.

The City of Brandon also pledged $300,000 and Security and First National banks both gave $50,000.

Thanks to that collaborative effort, Sarah Tucker and her family are able to enjoy weekly visits to the library today.

“We’re here all the time – once a week or every other week,” said Tucker, who accompanied two of her four children, 9-year-old Dominic and 6-year-old Ethan, on Friday. “The other two are at home napping.”

Dominic said he enjoys visiting the library simply for its quiet atmosphere.
“And the librarians are nice too,” he tosses in.

But in reality, Dominic relies on the community library to meet his school reading challenge.
“I’ve got to read a certain amount of books for school,” he said.

Sarah Tucker said she often takes advantage of the library’s online book reserve system in finding books for Dominic.

Jacob Hegland said he’s old enough to remember the town’s former library, which was in the building that now houses the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s really nice to have such a great library now, especially since it’s hooked up with the high school,” he said.

Brothers, Dominic (left) and Ethan Tucker grabbed some punch and cupcakes at Friday's open house celebration at the Brandon Community Library. The celebration marked the 10-year anniversary of the library in its current location on Splitrock Boulevard. Photo by Jill Meier

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