PINE RIVER -- For many years, the Kitchigami Regional Library headquarters in Pine River was too small and cramped.
The library headquarters for the nine Kitchigami libraries also used a garage behind the Pine River Public Library where the Bookmobile was parked. Library employees used a small children's wagon to haul books back and forth between the two buildings.
Times have changed.
Library staff began moving into the new 9,600-square-foot building last week, located at 310 Second St. The new building is twice the size of both former buildings combined. The Bookmobile and Readmobile have a spacious three-vehicle garage adjacent to the room filled with rows of library books used by the buses. The building houses a lunch room for employees and volunteers and a meeting room seating up to 45 people.
Valerie McCormic, a library assistant, unpacked boxes and boxes of books that are used on the Kitchigami Bookmobile last Thursday at the new Kitchigami Regional Library headquarters. (Dispatch Photos by Jodie Tweed)
The Kitchigami Board of Directors used to meet at the Cass County Courthouse in Walker because there wasn't a place to meet at the old building.
"We were in awe," said Marian Ridge, Kitchigami executive director. "People are overwhelmed at the new building. But it's already beginning to feel like home. The board and staff are really thrilled over the new building."
Construction began at the end of October on the five-acre site. Ridge said it's unclear whether the board will sell the nearby unused parcels of land. The old Kitchigami building will soon be put up for sale while Kitchigami has donated the annex behind the Pine River Public Library to the library.
All new library books arrive at the regional headquarters and are shipped out to the other Kitchigami library branches. Regional staff also assist library patrons by tracking down books at other libraries around the state and by filling library material orders.
An open house has been scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. May 15 at the new Kitchigami Regional Library headquarters.
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