The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Monday, October 07, 2013

No. 5 The Luck Public Library:Select Guide to Libraries of the St. Croix Valley

Select Guide to Libraries of the St. Croix Valley
No. 5 The Luck Public Library
For The Hometown Gazette
By Tim Krenz

What makes a library? Anyone can construct a building—of wood, of stone, bricks and mortar, or metal, or bark. Its durability and elegance depend on the knowledge and skill of the builder. Modern libraries, the traditional “building,” the aether-plane “Cloud,” or even the one dimly lit in a hidden basement somewhere in Polk County, can have its books, movies, musics, maps, reference materials, artifacts, and other unique items, in any form of media available. Yes, a library might have a dedicated librarian, care-taking and preserving the knowledge and inspiration contained within the hallowed stacks of the collections.
Yet, as these segments for Select Guide to Libraries of the St. Croix Valley assert, a library must involve people. If no patrons, the library and all its items exist only to serve as a tomb of knowledge and lost epiphanies, becoming a capsule through time, useless to the living, a futile legacy to the dead, and perhaps just a curiosity to the people finding it in the future.

The combined Luck Museum and Library provide a functional link between past and present for the residents of this small Polk County, Wisconsin village, with a population of near 1100. Of those residents inside the village limits, an astounding 895 carry library cards. By the time the doors opened on September 13, 2008, when surveyed earlier, the citizens of Luck had answered “yes” overwhelmingly for a new library. At a projected cost of $1 million, they also voted overwhelmingly for NO public funds (i.e., tax money) to pay for it. The undertaking stuns in how the new library became a reality.

The museum and library capital campaign hired the services of D.A. Peterson & Associates from the Twin Cities, MN. In the fund raising, strong support from Luck businesses, private personal donations of cash, and only one non-private contribution of $160,000 from a community development grant, covered the total cash cost of the library to the sum of $700,000, paying the loan in full and relatively quick. Of particular surprise in this series of articles, the rest of the expected costs of the library came from donations of in-kind materials and services (or SWAG--”switched with another gift”) of a Luck community that believed in the need for a new library, and in the need to use private, non-public means to build it.

For example, the furnace, the carpeting, the very foundation of this monument to community, (among many other items) came from private and business donations. All donations, properly assessed by D.A. Peterson & Associates for tax-deductible value, added up to the value of $300,000 of that projected $1 million. When added to the “community values” of Luck, the ledger sheet on the project adds up to an infinite value beyond that sum of money. With the building supervised by a Wisconsin consulting firm, donated materials arrived when and how needed. Rightly so, Luck's citizens can have a lot of pride in their accomplishment. They built a truly outstanding piece of future history, in its story and in the physical result.

Jill Glover, the library director, affectionately called the museum and library building the “Taj Mah-Luck,” since it reflects an architectural influence of its South Asia-born architect. On the very corner of the building, facing kitty-corner to the intersection on main street, a two-story vertical cylinder forms the entry way through the double doors. One goes to the left for the companion museum or to the right into the library. Outside, tall arched window frames fit into one-story cylinders on ends that allow a natural sunlight to accent the interior. The green metal roof, ribbed on the facing, tone a whole and healthy match to the cream stucco-like outside walls, a fine texture held together in the unity of “small colors” by a dark tan, three-foot high “bow around the blond walls,” that wraps and visibly holds the exterior visage of the building at eye-catching level.

About the circles represented in this design, Jill Glover said, “The top circle we wanted to somehow incorporate into the design, as the circle is important to Native America culture.” Indeed, the circle of immutable wholeness, especially in the grand entryway, represents the space-less-ness of spirit, and the directed path, inner-contained in all directions, for a pursuit of truth-in-self. As the cornerstone of modernity, and timelessness with astounding design, the library and museum building in
Luck's downtown can endure as a foundation corner-mark for Luck's future growth.

Although having vigorously attempted youth services programs, Luck decided the effort over-matched the results, and so Jill Glover and her assistant, Colleen, and 5 volunteers, cater to the library's strengths for the youth and young adults. The summer programs work, and the monthly movie night, as holder of license to show copyrighted materials, adds a mix to the library programs. With the simple attractions of any library, well-done and very well-kept, Luck's public library contains 13,000 books in print, 55,000 e-books, 900 downloads, 2000 videos, 319 videos for download, 50 in-house databases, 900 book downloads, 6 computer stations, public wi-fi, and 28 periodical subscriptions. And, remarkably, Luck's public library conducted 43,667 collection transactions in 2012 (according to their annual report). To support this effort of a good library done well, the approximately 9 members of the Friends of the Library committee write annual grants that obtain between $25,000 to $30,000 in funds for expanding library projects.

As the museum of Luck will have a separate mention in the future, it and the library will start a new project, as Jill Glover explains. In 2014, the Luck Public Library will begin an effort to collect Polk County documents, photos, histories, family genealogies, letters, etc. for digitization and on-line storage for referencing and accessibility. “We need to save the stories,” Jill said. Anyone interested in the Luck Public Library's Polk County-wide on-line history project can call the library, or visit this extraordinary space in downtown Luck, Wisconsin, at this time of our history.