By Margaret Arnold
As a retired librarian, community volunteer, and avid reader, Barb Pladson has watched the new Kimball Public Library turn from a long-held dream to a reality even in a worldwide pandemic. Active and involved, she and her husband, Paul, have taken the safety precautions seriously and are staying close to home except nearly every Friday night when they put on their masks, drive to Kimball and walk around the new library building site to take a look at the week’s progress.
“How exciting it will be when our new Kimball Library opens, which so many of our community members have dreamed about, planned for, and contributed towards,” said Barb. “We are so impressed with the progress over the summer. Even the building site has been well cared for by the people working on the building. It is so encouraging to see during this difficult time.”
To many, Barb and Paul represent the beginnings of support for the library in our community. Having served as the president of the Kimball Elementary School PIE organization when her daughters, Christy and Kathleen, were in school, Barb was seen nearly daily at the school. And when conversations to form a new Friends of the Library organization began in 1998, Barb stepped up as the founding president and, Paul, an accounting professor at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, assisted with filling out and filing the foundational documents to start the new 501(c)3 in our community.
As the membership and the popularity of the Kimball Area Dinner with an Author grew, some years drawing more than 200 people and from as far away as the Twin Cities, Barb was always willing to serve as the evening’s emcee. When author Kate DiCamillo, who was awarded the Newbery Medal just before coming to Kimball, presented to a sellout group of -children, parents and friends, Barb, a knitting instructor, personally knitted and presented her with a red felted bag. Ms. DiCamillo was truly thrilled and remarked that red was her favorite color and planned to use the bag for her writing tools. By now a famous children’s author, Ms. DiCamillo supported the Friends’ event that night by passing on her author’s fee. This was an event Barb and other Friends will never forget.
When it was time to work on the new building plans and introduce the building to the community, Barb agreed to emcee again for the “Evening with the Architects” in July 2017. She offered input on the project along the way (along with her diplomacy) often touching base while she and Paul enjoyed retirement and traveled the world for pleasure and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity (visiting other libraries of course). Using FaceTime with family these days, Barb estimates that she has read more than 150 books to two of her six grandchildren since mid-March. Christy, a librarian in the Twin Cities, and Kathleen, a teaching physician at the University of Minnesota, appreciate that their mother continues to share her love of reading with their children including virtually.
Barb and Paul are just one example of generous donors to this project who deeply understand what the opening of this library means to the community. They are lending their support as the Kimball Library Building Fundraising Task Force announces the Opening Together Challenge Match, a final fundraising effort to complete the building project. Along with other funds being raised through leadership giving and grants, the Challenge Match, a one-to-one $45,000 challenge, will go towards $160,000 needed for the project’s:
• Sustainability and fair work wages requirements.
• Soil correction needs.
• Building furniture and fixtures program.
• An original state grant match gap.
Nine generous business challengers have come forward with $45,000 and are challenging the rest of the community to raise the $45,000 match by Thursday, Oct. 15. Raising $45,000 from community members will unlock the total amount of $45,000 from these nine generous businesses:
• A.M. Maus & Son
• Arnold Companies
• Ehlinger & Associates, Inc.
• Harvest Bank
• Dan and Tammy Konz
• Kuechle Underground
• Land O’ Lakes Oil & Propane Company
• Rice Companies, Inc.
The Opening Together Challenge Match will show our “virtual” support of a new community asset before the doors open. This asset, a dream now a reality, will soon serve people of all ages, all walks of life and all abilities and all neighboring communities.
For more information or to support the Opening Together Challenge Match by Thursday, Oct. 15, go to kimball-library.org and click on “Support” to make your gift today or drop off your donation made payable to the Kimball Area Friends of the Library at Harvest Bank.
Like Barb and Paul, there are hundreds of donors to the new library. You can find them listed on our website. And as we get closer to opening the doors and plan to celebrate a grand opening next year when times are safer, we plan to share more illuminating stories about the library’s supporters.
A look ahead towards opening the new library
Driving by or walking by the new library building site? In the next few weeks, here’s what you’ll see:
• Interior carpeting, tiling, plumbing, and finishing work.
• Exterior grading, ditch, and parking lot asphalt and landscaping.
• Final cleaning and inspection.
More information to come on the move-in date this fall.