Monday, September 28, 2009
Madison Public Library Monroe Street Branch reopens Sunday after getting a facelift
One of the cool things about Madison is its impressive support for its public library system at a time of tight budgets and economic uncertainty. In some communities, libraries are among the first things that get tossed overboard in a budget crunch. Not in Madison.
A case in point: The reopening of the Monroe Street Branch after a facelift that created a more functional facility in the same space, with more computers and a more open layout. I was there to take photos for the library, but also because it is my neighborhood branch.
A year ago, it looked as if the branch might be forced to close due to budget problems. Now, a year later, it's not only still open, but better than ever. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who put funding in his budget to keep the branch open last fall, spoke at the reopening reception Sunday, both about the branch and also his $37-million plan to rebuild the downtown library, only $17 million coming from taxpayers. Orange Schroeder of Orange Tree Imports and president of the Monroe Street Library League recalled the days last year when it looked as if the branch might close and thanked those who helped keep it open.
There were other speakers as well, but it's fair to say these three women stole the show. Who says you can't make libraries entertaining? From left to right: Tanya Cunningham, Doleta Chapru and Marli Johnson of Harmony Crossing. They got things off to a rousing start by performing a library song they wrote for the occasion. In addition, the library's annual book sale was held as part of the Monroe Street Festival.