SEDRO-WOOLLEY — City, county, state and library officials gathered Wednesday alongside community members to celebrate the coming construction of a new Central Skagit Sedro-Woolley Library.
“We look with joy and great expectation toward our future,” Sedro-Woolley Mayor Julia Johnson said of the coming library. “Our vibrant vision is now becoming a reality.”
The library will be built at 100 W. State St.
Ryan Valdez of Valdez Construction, which has been hired to build the library, said work on the building is expected to begin in August.
State Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, said he’s looking forward to celebrating at the site again once the library is complete.
“I’m going to have a lot to say when it’s ribbon cutting day, which I’m really looking forward to,” Wagoner said. “We’ve come a long way.”
Johnson thanked Wagoner, who was formerly the city’s mayor, for his work on the library project.
“He has been the driver behind this, when he was mayor and by going down to Olympia and bringing back funding from the Legislature,” Johnson said.
The state Legislature has provided $2.5 million for the library, which has been years in the making due to the city’s interest in expanding its library and area residents’ interest in making a library available to those who live outside the city.
“I always thought it was strange that if you lived outside the city, you either couldn’t use the library or had to pay for a library card,” Wagoner said. “The creation of the Central Skagit Library district rectified that ... and we’ve gotten to a great place.”
Forming the Central Skagit Rural Partial County Library District was approved by voters in 2012. It authorized a property tax for residents in the Sedro-Woolley School District outside of Sedro-Woolley, Lyman and Hamilton, in order to pay for library services.
Since then, the Central Skagit Library was opened, the library district partnered with the city, and the two consolidated services in the former city library building on Ball Street.
Wagoner and others recounted those developments and more distant bits of history during Wednesday’s groundbreaking.
The city’s first library, the Sedro-Woolley Carnegie Library, opened in 1915 and the city’s second library opened at 802 Ball St. in the 1960s. That library has long been seen as too small to serve the city’s growing population and meet demands for computer access and learning programs.
The new library will be larger, offer more community programs and — because of the partnership between the city and the library district — will serve rural residents in the area.
“We’ve had two great libraries that have served us well throughout the history of Sedro-Woolley, and we’re about to have a third that will do what we want, which is to serve all those around the city limits,” Wagoner said.
Central Skagit Sedro-Woolley Library Director Jeanne Williams and Sedro-Woolley Supervisor and Attorney Eron Berg said making the new library possible required a lot of community involvement.
“It’s wonderful to know so many people recognize that a thriving community needs a thriving library — and we are getting close to that,” Williams said.
The new library will include community meeting space and areas where students can study and children of all ages can learn.
“This library will not only be beautiful and inspiring, but it will be durable,” Williams said. “I’m really looking forward to our library growing and changing with the needs of the community.”